A project of WWF in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.
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In 2003, WWF began working with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and other partners to reduce the bycatch of endangered sea turtles in the longline fisheries of the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). This initiative seeks to achieve significant and long-term reductions in fisheries bycatch and fundamentally change fishing practices in the EPO.
In order to reduce this bycatch, there are a number of actions that must be undertaken at the local, national and global scale. Better bycatch data collection and mandatory changes for longline fishing need to be adopted by the world’s potentially powerful Regional Fishery Management Organisations (RFMOs) that manage high seas fisheries. Practical solutions need to be sensitive to artisanal fisherfolk’s subsistence needs and should capitalize on their local knowledge. The voluntary adoption of turtle-friendly fishing practices by artisanal longliners in the EPO is leading the way to a massive transformation of attitudes towards bycatch. Until recently, efforts to reduce bycatch have largely focused on industrial fisheries and organized artisanal fleets such as those in the EPO. Although bycatch in small, local artisanal fisheries was not considered a major problem, these fisheries are extensive and may have huge localized effects. Identification of interactions of turtles and fisheries overlap is critically important for long-term turtle conservation. On a global basis, areas of particular concern for longline bycatch are the Central and Southern Pacific
This work aims for the compilation and dissemination of travel route information about the movements of black marine turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii) and for the subsequent design of measures to reduce by-catch mortality in EPO fisheries. It will increase the knowledge about the movements of black turtles and contribute toward the identification of interaction in EPO fisheries. The communications material produced are useful to raise awareness about the conservation needs of black turtles and the value of regional collaboration to this end. Collaboration with fishermen to deploy transmitter during their fishing operation will be key to the success of the project and to continue maintaining trust developed during more than 7 year of joint work.
Although basic information on female black turtles migration is now available, more research is needed and male migration routes in EPO need to be researched as well. Seven SPOT5 transmitters will be deployed on turtles with observers onboard longline vessels in open oceans and as well with researchers and volunteers in coastal areas.
WWF, NOAA, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Centro de Investigación y Conservación Marina (CICMAR), Eastern Pacific Longline fishermen, Cuajiniquil Community, Pilar Santidrián-Tomillo "Bibi", Area de Conservación de Guanacaste, Costa Rica (ACG), Centro de Investigación para el Manejo Ambientaly el Desarrollo (CIMAD) y la Unidad de Parques Nacionales de Colombia, for the moment.
WWF, Lottery NL, NOAA.