Save Mediterranean Sea turtles, urge ecologists

8th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

Some 325,000 turtles would be spared if fishermen used circular hooks and fish in deeper waters, say WWF/ Adena and Greenpeace.

8 July 2008

LAS PALMAS - Conservationists believe that many of the over 325,000 marine turtles that die annually as a result of pollution and other threats such as accidental drowning in fishing gear could be saved.

In the Mediterranean Sea alone, between 20,000 and 30,000 turtles die yearly when they are caught on fishing lines.

The WWF/Adena and Greenpeace believe that thousands of these mammals could be spared if fishermen used circular as opposed to j-shaped hooks, and fished in deeper waters.

Another important measure, they say, would be to change the feed on hooks to fish instead of squid.

Speaking at an international conference in Las Palmas last weekend, Yonat Swimmer, a marine biologist at the US Oceanographic Institute, compares these small changes to when car seat belts were introduced.

Conservation measures implemented in Latin America have helped reduce the unwanted turtle catch by 70 percent. The WWF/Adena and Greenpeace said satellite technology is another important tool that can be used to save turtles.

The area where turtles are most at risk in the Mediterranean is between the Balearic Islands and Algeria.

[El Pais / Sofia Menendez / Expatica]

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