SS1.06 The Ecological Impacts of Pelagic Longline Fisheries
Date: Monday, June 10, 2002
Time: 11:30:00 AM
Location: Carson A
 
YeungC, University of Miami, Miami, USA, cyeung@rsmas.miami.edu
 
MARINE TURTLE BYCATCH BY THE U.S. ATLANTIC PELAGIC LONGLINE FLEET 1992-1999
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The U.S. pelagic longline fleet targeting tuna (Thunnus spp.) and swordfish (Xiphias gladius) in the North Atlantic (including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico) occasionally interacts with marine turtles. Turtles are hooked or entangled, resulting in injury or, in extreme cases, death. The bycatch of marine turtle by the fleet in 1992-1999 was estimated and the factors that influenced bycatch rates were examined. Bycatch rates were based on systematic sampling of a selected portion of the fleet by scientific observers, and raised to the total effort as reported by the entire fleet. Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) were the marine turtle species most often caught in pelagic longline. The northeast area between the Georges Bank and the Grand Banks has the highest bycatch of these species. Peak bycatch occurred in the third quarter of the year at the height of fishing effort. Time-area factors are far more influential on bycatch than gear-effort factors. The task remains of unraveling the biological and physical factors that are masked by time and space.