US fisheries kill 4,600 sea turtles per year: Study
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Improved fishing nets have saved tens of thousands of endangered sea turtles in recent years, but 4,600 are still dying annually, mainly in Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawls, said a United States (US) study on Wednesday.
Turtle-excluder devices (TEDs), or large holes that allow the creatures to escape from nets that nab smaller marine creatures, have helped cut back on sea turtle deaths up to 94 per cent since the 1990s, said the report in the journal Biological Conservation.
The current annual death rate is a 'dramatic reduction' from the estimated peak of about 71,000 before protective measures were put in place, said the Duke University-led study which examined data from the US National Marine Fisheries Service on 20 US coastal fisheries.
But major gaps remain, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico and south-eastern US shrimp trawl fishery area, where the study said up to 98 per cent of all turtle deaths are believed to have occurred in the past two decades. http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/World/Story/STIStory_712842.html