Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Atlantic Ocean risk zones for leatherback turtles identified

Date:
February 11, 2014
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Researchers used data from satellite transmitters attached to the turtles to track their movements across the Atlantic Ocean. These movements were then overlapped with information on high pressure fishing areas to identify where the turtles are most susceptible to becoming entangled and where they may drown.

The last large populations of the leatherback turtle are at risk because their migratory routes in the Atlantic Ocean clash with the locations of industrial fisheries.
Credit: Phil Doherty

Researchers used data from satellite transmitters attached to the turtles to track their movements across the Atlantic Ocean. These movements were then overlapped with information on high pressure fishing areas to identify where the turtles are most susceptible to becoming entangled and where they may drown.

Related Articles


The international study, jointly led by Dr Matthew Witt of the University of Exeter and Dr Sabrina Fossette of Swansea University, found that urgent international efforts are needed to protect the iconic species.

Between 1995 and 2010, a total of 106 leatherback turtles were satellite-tracked in the Atlantic and south-west Indian Oceans. Resulting information was interpreted along with knowledge on longline fishing effort and nine areas with the highest risk of bycatch were identified.

Maps of the turtles' daily locations revealed that Atlantic leatherbacks use both deep sea international waters (more than 200 nautical miles from land) and coastal national waters, either seasonally or year-round, in a complex pattern of habitat use.

More than four billion hooks were set throughout the entire Atlantic Ocean by industrial fisheries between 1995 and 2010 -- equivalent to 730,000 hooks per day.

Dr Witt, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall, said: "This study clearly stresses the transboundary nature of leatherback turtle seasonal movement and the multi-national effort necessary to design measures to protect this iconic species from fisheries activity. Significant efforts are urgently needed to bridge the gap between scientists and the fishing industry to ensure these and future findings are rapidly progressed into policy."

The study, published today (12/02/14) in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, shows that of the nine areas of high susceptibility for leatherbacks, four are in the North Atlantic and five in the South/Equatorial Atlantic.

Some of these areas are on the high seas, but they also fall within the Exclusive Economic Zones (the coastal water and sea bed around a country's shores to which it claims exclusive rights for fishing, oil exploration and so on) of the UK, USA, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal, Spain, Western Sahara, Angola, Brazil and Namibia.

Leatherbacks from the north Atlantic regularly use UK national waters, particularly during our summertime, whereas those from the south Atlantic move through UK overseas territorial waters of Ascension Island and Saint Helena during March to May while they migrate towards South America.

Professor Brendan Godley from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall is the senior author of the paper and co-founder of web based tools on the website Seaturtle.org, which facilitated this multinational study involving 12 countries from four continents.

He said: "The integration of these vast datasets clearly highlights areas where fisheries need to be subject to greater scrutiny. We must avoid the tragedy that could ensue where fisheries from wealthy nations negatively impact the marine biodiversity of developing nations, many of which are valiantly trying to protect their coastal and offshore environments."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthew Witt, Sabrina Fossette et al. Pan-Atlantic analysis of the overlap of a highly migratory species, the leatherback turtle, with pelagic longline fisheries. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 12 February 2014

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Atlantic Ocean risk zones for leatherback turtles identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140211211359.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2014, February 11). Atlantic Ocean risk zones for leatherback turtles identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140211211359.htm
University of Exeter. "Atlantic Ocean risk zones for leatherback turtles identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140211211359.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) A mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers' houses at a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 250 missing, an official said. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) The Galapagos tortoise has made a stupendous recovery from the brink of extinction to a population of more than 1,000. But it still faces threats. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A solar energy project in the Tunisian Sahara aims to generate enough clean energy by 2018 to power two million European homes. Matt Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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