Leatherback Sea Turtles
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Silent Killers: The Danger of Plastic Bags to Marine Life

Silent Killers: The Danger of Plastic Bags to Marine Life | Leatherback Sea Turtles | Scoop.it
In marine environments, many animals confuse the plastic littering the oceans for food, including sea turtles. One in three leatherback sea turtles have plastic in their stomach, most often a plastic bag ...

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Leatherback sea turtles suffer 78 percent decline at critical nesting sites in Pacific

Leatherback sea turtles suffer 78 percent decline at critical nesting sites in Pacific | Leatherback Sea Turtles | Scoop.it

Feb 27, 2013 - Mongabay

The world's largest sea turtle, the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), is vanishing from its most important nesting sites in the western Pacific, according to a new study in Ecosphere.

"Sea turtles have been around about 100 million years and survived the extinction of the dinosaurs but are struggling to survive the impact of humans," co-author Thane Wibbels with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), told Reuters.

Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0227-hance-leatherbacks-pacific.html#QdTlGf0asfjZr0mb.99


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Nesting site problems.

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Event promotes protection of Pacific leatherback sea turtles

Event promotes protection of Pacific leatherback sea turtles | Leatherback Sea Turtles | Scoop.it
Overlooking feeding grounds of the critically endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle in Monterey, representatives from Indonesia and California signed a declaration on Tuesday to establish an international partnership to conserve the sea turtle...

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Gordon McGlone's curator insight, October 17, 2013 2:58 AM

I was once lucky enough to see a leatherback turtle, the fourth largest living reptile, that had been washed ashore on the River Severn.  It was an astonishing sight and a reminder to me that we have reduced out marine diversity to such an extent that a creature that is still native to British waters in the summer months is endangered world wide.


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Pacific Leatherback sea turtles get more protection

Pacific Leatherback sea turtles get more protection | Leatherback Sea Turtles | Scoop.it

Critical habitat designation off Pacific coast protects feeding grounds
The U.S. took a huge step toward protecting endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles last week by finalizing a critical habitat designation for 40,000 square miles ocean off the shores Washington, Oregon and California.


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Amanda Jackson Carlson's insight:

This article goes in more depth about how the leatherback is disapearing from the oceans because of humans.  It also talks about the steps the US is taking to help protect their habitat.

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Save Leatherback Turtles from Extinction

Save Leatherback Turtles from Extinction | Leatherback Sea Turtles | Scoop.it
The critically endangered leatherback turtle is facing a population crisis in the Pacific ocean.

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Pacific leatherback turtle, known for its arduous 6,000-mile ocean trek, faces extinction in 20 years

Pacific leatherback turtle, known for its arduous 6,000-mile ocean trek, faces extinction in 20 years | Leatherback Sea Turtles | Scoop.it

Feb 28, 2013:

The Pacific leatherback braves a transpacific journey that is one of the longest migrations in nature. Experts say its continued existence is imperiled by threats like climate change, plastic pollution, fishing methods, predation and human hunting The leatherback - the world's largest turtle - can grow to six feet long and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds (900 kg).

 be extinct in 20 years."

A study published this week in the Ecological Society of America's scientific journal Ecosphere estimates that only about 500 leatherbacks now nest at their last large nesting site in the Pacific, down from thousands previously. The study tracked the turtle's ongoing population decline since the 1980s.

 

The giant Pacific leatherback turtle, known for its arduous 6,000-mile ocean trek from the U.S. West Coast to breeding grounds in Indonesia, could go extinct within 20 years as its population continues to plummet, scientists say...

Sea turtles have been around about 100 million years and survived the extinction of the dinosaurs but are struggling to survive the impact of humans," said reproductive biologist Thane Wibbels of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), a member of a research team studying the fate of these reptiles. "If the decline continues, leatherback turtles will become extinct in the Pacific Ocean within 20 years," Wibbels said.http://planetark.org/wen/68042


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COSTA RICA: Longline fisheries in Costa Rica hook tens of thousands of sea turtles every year

COSTA RICA: Longline fisheries in Costa Rica hook tens of thousands of sea turtles every year | Leatherback Sea Turtles | Scoop.it

Hundreds of kilometers of commercial fishing lines slither along coastal waters in Costa Rica, hooking thousands of mahi-mahi and many other marketable fish. But when scientists scrutinized fishermen’s catch, they were shocked by the staggering number of sea turtles accidentally snagged on the lines.

A study published Aug. 20 in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology suggests that longline fisheries in Costa Rica unintentionally caught about 700,000 Olive Ridley turtles as bycatch between 1999 and 2010—the second highest catch after mahi-mahi. Other bycatch included silky sharks, pelagic stingrays and Indo-Pacific sailfish.

“We’re seeing fewer turtles, smaller sharks and catastrophic effects on mahi-mahi—our main fishery product,” said Randall Arauz, co-author of the study and president of a Costa Rican conservation research non-profit called PRETOMA, in an interview with mongabay.com. “We’re already seeing big troubles in the longline industry.”

 

In a collaboration between Drexel University, PRETOMA and a U.S. non-profit called The Leatherback Trust, observers shadowed Papagayo Seafood S.A. longline fishing expeditions off Playa del Coco for 10 years. They recorded details of all species reeled in on the lines, noting the types of hooks and how long they were in the water.

“It’s a highly informative and unusually thorough study,” said Carl Safina, founding president of Blue Ocean Institute in New York in an interview with mongabay.com. “Most bycatch studies span a smaller area over a shorter time.”

When Olive Ridleys from nearby beaches chomp on the bait, they can become hooked. Because they surface to breathe, about 98 percent of the turtles are hauled in alive, authors say. But if a line catches fifty turtles, each weighing 60 kilograms or more, then hauling them in, removing the hooks and throwing them back overboard is challenging.

“It’s a real pain,” said Arauz. “So fishermen tend to just rip the hooks out.” The study did not monitor how the released turtles fare, but authors say that careless de-hooking may kill even more turtles.

 

The authors estimate that 2 to 3 percent of the turtles swallow the hooks, which usually kills the animals—a toll of about 14,000 turtles during the 10-year study, said Arauz.

The findings indicate that turtle bycatch rates have decreased each year. However, the authors believe this reflects a dwindling population, rather than better fishing practices.

Co-author James Spotila, a biologist at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, told ticotimes.net that the fishery in Costa Rica is not sustainable. This type of collapse has happened before, he said.

Authors argue that a lack of rules about when and where fishermen may work, and the equipment they may use, is hurting the marine ecosystem in Costa Rica. Closing key fisheries along the Guanacaste coast, especially during key nesting seasons between October and February, will help decrease turtle bycatch, they maintain.

But the policymakers who have the authority to change such rules also have an economic stake in the Costa Rican fishing industry, Arauz said, posing a legislative challenge.

In an interview with mongabay.com, Bryan Wallace, chief scientist at the Oceanic Society in California, said the Costa Rican governmental fisheries management agency, called INCOPESCA, does not have the same incentives to reduce bycatch. Effecting change will require a national commitment to uphold better standards, Wallace said.

Arauz warns of grave consequences if Costa Rica doesn’t follow such a course: “If they keep fishing the way they’ve been fishing for the last 30 to 40 years, there isn’t going to be anything left.”

 

CITATION: Dapp, D, Arauz, R, Spotila, JR, and O’Connor, MP. (2013) Impact of Costa Rican longline fishery on its bycatch of sharks, stingrays, bony fish and olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 20 August 2013.

Julia Calderone is a graduate student in the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Laura Wiesner's curator insight, November 15, 2013 4:20 PM

This article is talking about how many sea turtles get caught in fishing nets. I think that this is an important issue that needs to be addressed. I think that fishing companies should know how to release a sea turtle if one gets caught in a fishing net. They also should set up a place where sea turtles are able to go where they are not in danger of a net scooping them up. 

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Leatherback Sea Turtles, Leatherback Sea Turtle Pictures, Leatherback Sea Turtle Facts - National Geographic

Leatherback Sea Turtles, Leatherback Sea Turtle Pictures, Leatherback Sea Turtle Facts - National Geographic | Leatherback Sea Turtles | Scoop.it
Learn all you wanted to know about leatherback sea turtles with pictures, videos, photos, facts, and news from National Geographic.
Amanda Jackson Carlson's insight:

This is a good overview of the leatherback sea turtles.  While not terribly detailed it is a good general description of the life cycle and life patterns of leatherbacks.  It also touches on how humans are causing most leatherbacks to meet an early death.

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