16 Dec '11, 9pm

Off the Hook? Good News for Swordfish Fans Leaves Turtles in a Bind

Off the Hook? Good News for Swordfish Fans Leaves Turtles in a Bind

Several years ago, I spent a few days on a boat with a University of Florida sea turtle research team off the Azorean island of Faial. Using a long-handled dip net, the biologists scooped juvenile loggerheads out of the ocean. Once aboard the ship, the turtles, about the size of dinner plates, were measured, weighed, biopsied, tagged with IDs, and, within minutes, released. At least that’s what happened to all but two of the three dozen loggerheads we caught that day. The exceptions had strands of monofilament fishing line protruding from their mouths. They had become hooked after taking the bait of a surface longline set for swordfish. While one of the turtles was reasonably lively, flapping its flippers and snapping at any fingers that came near its beaklike jaws, the other was listless, barely able to move. I thought of those young loggerheads, a species that the United...

Full article: http://www.onearth.org/blog/swordfish-longline-loggerhead...

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