Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Lucchetti A., Palumbo V., Antolini B., Affronte M., Clò S., Sala A. Reduction of loggerhead turtle (caretta caretta) bycatch in mediterranean bottom trawl fisheries. In: Biologia Marina Mediterranea, vol. 15 (1) pp. 336 - 337. Società Italiana di Biologia Marina, 2008.
Fishing-induced mortality is considered a major threat to sea turtle populations worldwide (Tudela, 2000). The Barcelona Convention adopted an Action Plan for the Conservation of Mediterranean Marine Turtles in 1989, acknowledging that trawl catches are the most serious threat to the sea turtles. It is estimated that more than 60000 turtles are incidentally caught annually as a result of the fishing practices (Tudela, 2000). Traditionally surface longline targeting swordfish, bluefin tuna and albacore is considered as the main responsible for loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) bycatch, mainly in the western and central Mediterranean Sea (Camifias and de la Serna, 1995). Nevertheless, in the last years a growing number of sea turtles are accidentally caught by bottom trawlers in the Adriatic Sea and in the Gulf of Gabés in Tunisia. Casale et al. (2004) estimated that in the Adriatic Sea more than 4000 turtles per year are caught. This area is considered for its shallow waters (<100 m) and rich benthic communities as of the most important foraging areas in the whole Medi¬terranean for the adults and juveniles loggerheads during their demersal life phase. Few unofficial observations report that most of the incidental catches occur in late winter and spring. When captured by a trawl net, turtles may drown, becoming first comatose and eventually dying. One of the most important management measures to protect sea turtle, especially of the juveniles and subadult size class, is the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs). TEDs are actually widely employed in several areas of the World but no experiences are available for Italian waters. There are a variety of hard TED designs but generally it is very difficult to introduce new technical solutions if the economic losses are considerable.
Subject Turtle Excluder Device
Mediterranean trawl fisheries
Caretta caretta
sea turtle

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