Modifications of traps to reduce bycatch of freshwater turtles

Authors

  • R. Bruce Bury

    Corresponding author
    1. U.S. Geological Survey, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
    • U.S. Geological Survey, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
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  • Associate Editor: Cynthia S. Loftin

  • This article is a U.S. Government work, and as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

Abstract

Mortality of freshwater turtles varies among types and deployments of traps. There are few or no losses in hoop or fyke traps set where turtles may reach air, including placement in shallows, addition of floats on traps, and tying traps securely to a stake or to shore. Turtle mortality occurs when traps are set deep, traps are checked at intervals >1 day, and when turtles are captured as bycatch. Devices are available that exclude turtles from traps set for crab or game fish harvest. Slotted gates in front of the trap mouth reduce turtle entry, but small individuals still may be trapped. Incidental take of turtles is preventable by integrating several designs into aquatic traps, such as adding floats to the top of traps so turtles may reach air or an extension tube (chimney, ramp) that creates an escape route. © 2010 The Wildlife Society.

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