A major threat to Sea Turtles
April 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
As you all might be aware of from my resent blog posts, over fishing has already become a huge issue. But, what I’ve learned from a recent trip to the Vancouver Aquarium is that many other marine lives are killed or injured during these fishing acts. I was already aware of this however I did not know just how big of an issue it actually was getting to be. It was a great experience and I encourage anyone who can to take a trip to the Aquarium to see for themselves. I went with the rest of my classmates for the Biology course I am currently taking. We got to go behind the scenes and see all the different marine life up close and meet with marine biologists to discuss the different issues is our oceans.
Out of all the threats that sea turtles are faced with, bycatch (the capture of the turtles in fishing gear) is the most serious. Approx.40% of all animals caught in fisheries are discarded as trash. Sea turtles are not the only ones affected by this, many other different species of marine animals and sea birds are also being harmed. Approximately 1000 dolphins die as bycatch every year, and that’s only in the Eastern Tropical Pacific tuna fishery. The animals that are caught that are released are usually injured having to fend for themselves; their fate after being released is unknown. Longlines containing thousands of baited hooks on lines that can be tens of miles long hook and entangle many animals and fish. Pelagic (meaning open ocean) longline fisheries are responsible for the critically endangered status of the Pacific Leatherback turtles. In the last couple of decades, the population has declined as much as 95%.
How can we help? You can help eliminate fisheries bycatch by choosing seafood that is sustainable and fished according to regulations.