Overview of loggerhead turtles coastal nets interactions in the Mediterranean Sea
Khaled Echwikhi, National Institute of Sea Sciences and Technologies, P.O. Box 1035, 3018 Sfax, Tunisia.
- In the Mediterranean Sea, trawl nets and drifting longlines have been recognized as methods that capture thousands or tens of thousands of turtles. However, the possible impact of other fishing methods has not been adequately addressed, especially for artisanal and amateur fisheries that use coastal nets.
- Coastal net fisheries, including driftnets and set nets, used at a much shallower depth (<40 m) in the Mediterranean, result in a large bycatch of loggerhead turtles in the neritic zone. The mortality rate with these fisheries seems to be higher than with other commercial fisheries.
- In the Mediterranean context, additional assessments on fishery characteristics and fishing gear parameters to: (i) develop a simple and unanimous definition of an artisanal fishery; and (ii) standardize units for reporting sea turtle bycatch with coastal nets, are needed to provide an understanding of the current relative degree of risk coastal net fisheries pose to turtle populations.
- Mitigation measures based on (a) gear-technology approaches, (b) fisheries closures, and (c) increased awareness and education of fishermen, must be considered as priorities and should be implemented without further delay. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.