The Spanish government and the fishing fleet collaborate to reduce accidental deaths of sea turtles. (Photo: Magrama)
Fishing fleet helps save thousands of sea turtles
Tuesday, June 12, 2012, 16:30 (GMT + 9)
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama) and the Spanish longline fishing fleet collaborate to save between 15,000 and 20,000 sea turtles each year.
This was announced by the central government during the celebration of the World Oceans Day, held on Friday in Vigo (Pontevedra). Among other authorities, the director general of the Ministry of Fisheries Management, Andrés Hermida; Secretary General of the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca), Javier Garat; the researcher of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), Jaime Mejuto; and the scientific director of KAI Marine Services, Ricardo Sagarminaga attended the celebration.
In order for fishermen to help conserve endangered species, such as the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), poles for cutting fishing lines were distributed among ship-owners’ associations.
The idea of the encouragers of this measure is to train fishermen for them to learn how to use it and to significantly reduce the number of sea turtles that die each year.
Sea turtles massively die in the seas and in oceans of the world as they are accidentally caught in fishing hooks.
To try to reduce the hundreds of thousands of deaths since the 80s longline fishermen from Spain have been working closely with scientific institutions, environmental organizations and the US Administration of Oceans and Atmospheres.
After seven years of research together with the longline fleet in the Spanish Mediterranean, the survival rate of these endangered animals has increased by about 90 per cent.
To achieve this goal, new fishing techniques were implemented and best practices in the handling and release of turtles.
The Biodiversity Foundation has been in charge of this training plan for fishermen and with the help of the Cram Foundation and KAI Marine Services to develop a series of training sessions, which began on 5 June at the port of Burela (Lugo) and continued in the ports of A Guarda, Marín and Vigo (Pontevedra).
The training of fishermen will continue in other parts of the country for the rest of 2012.
Other entities involved in this initiative are the National Scientific Research Council (CSIC), Alnitak, the Coordinator for the Study of Marine Mammals, Oceana, the Society for the Study of Cetaceans in the Canary Islands, SEO/BirdLife and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Spain.
- World Oceans Day celebrated across the globe
By Analia Murias