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Spiraling Loggerhead Deaths Linked to Fishing Gear Off Baja California

Jessica Estepa - E&E Publishing
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October 3, 2013
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Pacific Loggerhead Turtles: In Whose Hands? Because fisheries bycatch off the Baja California peninsula is currently the greatest documented threat to the critically endangered North Pacific loggerhead turtle, the future of this ocean- and culture-connecting migratory species is primarily in the hands of Mexican fishers. Ironically, it is difficult for many of Baja California's halibut and shark fishers to understand that loggerhead turtles are endangered because they can catch up to twelve turtles in a single day. (hoytpeckham)

One thing hasn't changed since Wallace Nichols began studying loggerhead sea turtles in Mexico's Baja California more than 20 years ago: North Pacific sea turtles are dying. And the main culprit - bycatch - is easy to spot, he said.

Thousands of dead sea turtles have washed ashore over the years on a small stretch of beach in Baja California. Last year, Mexican wildlife law enforcement reported 438 of the animals as stranded and dead over a two-month period. This year, 705 dead loggerheads were reported by officials in that same amount of time. Scientists say the official numbers are far below the reality.

The turtles, known for their powerful jaws and large heads, live in waters from the Gulf of Mexico to the Mediterranean Sea. But of the nine loggerhead populations found around the world - all of which are considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature - one is considered most threatened by bycatch: the north Pacific population.

Read the rest at E&E Publishing

  Check out Deep Blue Conservancy

  Check out Ecological Group of Costa Verde

  Check out The Western Ecological Society


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