Volume 59

A summary Review of Wider Caribbean Fisheries and their Relationships to Sea Turtles, Marine Mammals and Seabirds

Bjorkland, R., Crowder, L. B., Eckert, K., Saladin, N., Dunn, D., Lester, L., Eckert, S., Long, A.
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Date: November, 2006

Pages: 391-394

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Nine Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Belize City

Country: Belize


There is a growing recognition that trends, status, and fate of sea turtle, marine mammal and seabird populations cannot be understood or managed in isolation from an understanding of fisheries and oceanographic conditions at the basin-scale. This year Duke University, Blue Ocean Institute and WIDECAST (Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network) began partnering with regional fisheries organizations, scientists and NGOs to undertake a preliminary but vital regional review of the interaction of sea turtles, marine mammals and seabirds with Caribbean fisheries. Several important features are already emerging from our preliminary and ongoing synthesis of the peer-reviewed literature, technical reports and discussions with regional experts in fisheries, ocean research, and management. First, while acknowledging the efforts to assess and mitigate bycatch in industrial fisheries, it is clear that few assessments have been carried out for coastal gillnets and artisanal bottom-set longlines, which may have important cumulative impacts from numerous small-scale operations. Second, sea turtle bycatch has the best documented record in this region, and the comparative dearth of information regarding marine mammal and seabird distribution and bycatch represents a serious gap in efforts to construct an ecosystem-level context to sustainably managing the resources of the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem. Finally, a coherent network of investigators is needed to analyze bycatch from a multi-taxa, multi-gear, multi-national perspective able to integrate data on bycatch, fishing effort, and oceanography at meaningful scales. We expect the information and recommendations from this compilation will serve as useful background documentation for subsequent multinational activities and action plans

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