Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study shows small-scale fisheries' impact on marine life

Date:
July 18, 2011
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Small-scale fisheries could pose a more serious threat to marine life than previously thought. Research shows that tens of thousands of turtles from across the Pacific are being captured through the activities of small-scale fisheries.

Peruvian fishermen release a caught sea turtle.
Credit: Photo by Jeffrey Mangel

Small-scale fisheries could pose a more serious threat to marine life than previously thought. Research led by the University of Exeter, published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, shows that tens of thousands of turtles from across the Pacific are being captured through the activities of small-scale fisheries.

Focusing on fisheries in Peru, the study suggests that thousands of sea turtles originating from nesting beaches as far away as Australia, Costa Rica, Mexico and the Galapagos, are likely to be captured each year as bycatch while they forage in Peru's waters. 'Bycatch' is the term used to describe fish or other sea animals being caught unintentionally by fisheries and is usually associated with large-scale industrial fishing, such as trawling and longlining.

This study shows the effect of small-scale nets and longlines on marine turtle bycatch. Some are kept for consumption and while the majority are released alive, they are often injured as a result of becoming tangled in fishing gear.

Senior author Dr Brendan Godley of the University of Exeter said: "We have known for a long time that, along with sharks, marine mammals and seabirds, marine turtles often become bycatch as a result large-scale fishing. It is only recently that we have begun to realise that small-scale fisheries may also have a significant impact on marine life. However, we were very surprised when our study revealed just how large an impact small-scale fisheries have on sea turtles."

The Pacific waters around Peru serve as important foraging areas for five species of marine turtle, including loggerhead, green, leatherback, olive ridley and hawksbill turtles. As part of a broad international collaboration to evaluate fisheries impacts, the researchers monitored four key Peruvian fisheries to observe fishing techniques and record the number of turtles caught. The team believes these data are vital for developing effective conservation strategies to reverse the declines of populations of marine turtles and other vulnerable species.

Fishing is a growing industry in Peru and the country is now home to more than 100 ports, nearly 10,000 fishing vessels and 37,000 people working in fisheries. The industry provides an increasingly important role as an employer in Peru. The research team suggests that changes to fishing practices, such as introducing circle hooks and dehookers to line fishing and using net illumination, could help reduce sea turtle bycatch.

University of Exeter Darwin Scholar and lead author Joanna Alfaro said: "Coastal communities in developing countries, such as those I work with in Peru, rely heavily on fishing for their food and livelihoods. In fact, these fisheries are among Peru's main employers. Therefore it is important to find solutions that can ensure the continuation of Peru's fisheries. IMARPE, a Peruvian government research body, will help implement these solutions in Peru's small-scale fisheries. We have already started working with local people in Peru to try and tackle to the problem of turtle bycatch."

"The findings of this study tells us that acting locally to reduce bycatch in small-scale artisanal fisheries will be essential to succeeding globally in the international effort to prevent further declines in marine biodiversity" said Dr Peter Dutton, a leading sea turtle scientist with the US National Marine Fisheries Service who, along with co-author Dr Jeffrey Seminoff, is working together with Peruvian and other international partners to implement recovery plans for endangered sea turtles in the Pacific.

This research was funded through Defra's Darwin Initiative and the US National Marine Fisheries Service.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Study shows small-scale fisheries' impact on marine life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718201520.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2011, July 18). Study shows small-scale fisheries' impact on marine life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718201520.htm
University of Exeter. "Study shows small-scale fisheries' impact on marine life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718201520.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins