New Study: Millions of Sea Turtles Caught in Effort to Put Fish on Your Plate - Oceana USA

New Study: Millions of Sea Turtles Caught in Effort to Put Fish on Your Plate

Oceana Reacts to First Ever Global Assessment of Sea Turtle Bycatch

Press Release Date: April 6, 2010

Location: Washington

Contact:

Dustin Cranor, APR 954.348.1314

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Oceana, the world’s largest international ocean conservation organization, released the following statement from marine scientist and fisheries campaign manager Elizabeth Griffin today following the publication of the first ever global assessment of sea turtle bycatch. The report, which appears in the journal Conservation Letters this week, was conducted by Conservation International (CI) in partnership with Duke University’s Project GloBAL (Global By-catch Assessment of Long-lived Species) and finds that millions of sea turtles were caught in commercial fisheries over the past two decades.

“It’s clear that commercial fishing is annihilating sea turtle populations worldwide. Sea turtle populations are threatened globally with extinction. Gillnets, longlines and trawls, three of the most commonly used fishing gear types, combine to threaten the future survival of sea turtles.

This report estimates that millions of sea turtles were likely caught in commercial fisheries over the past 20 years. According to the scientists, sea turtle bycatch is likely two orders of magnitude higher than the reported 85,000 sea turtles caught.

Sea turtle bycatch is a global problem that warrants a global solution. Without additional bycatch reduction and better enforcement of already established protections, many sea turtle populations will be pushed towards extinction. Improved monitoring of sea turtle bycatch is essential to fully understanding the true impact of fisheries on sea turtles.

Sea turtles play important roles in the marine ecosystem and have significant economic and cultural value.

U.S. leadership on domestic and international sea turtle conservation is desperately needed. The U.S. should take immediate action, including requiring Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in all trawls operating where sea turtles are present and pushing for the use of large circle hooks in high seas longline fisheries.

Six of the seven sea turtle species are currently listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered globally by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.”

To read the study, please visit http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/123340556/PDFSTART.

To talk with the authors of the study, please contact Kim McCabe, U.S. media manager for Conservation International at +1 703 341 2546, +1 202 203 9927 (mobile) or kmccabe@conservation.org.

For more information about Oceana’s campaign to save sea turtles and for downloadable photos, please visit www.oceana.org/seaturtles.