Strandings of Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) along the western and southern coast of the Gulf of Venezuela

Barrios-Garrido, Hector, and Montiel-Villalobos, María G. (2016) Strandings of Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) along the western and southern coast of the Gulf of Venezuela. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 11 (1). pp. 244-252.

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Abstract

Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) strandings in the Gulf of Venezuela (GV) were evaluated to estimate: (1) the area of most frequent strandings; (2) the period of greatest strandings; and (3) the number of strandings that exhibit evidence of human interaction. We gathered data from three sources: (1) scientific patrols; (2) Opportune Information Network (in Spanish Red de Aviso Oportuno – RAO); and (3) contact with local non-governmental organization. At each stranding site, we collected information about the location, date, specimen condition, and, when possible, the midline curved carapace length (CCL) and curved carapace width (CCW). We categorized the cause of strandings as either interaction with human activities or an unknown cause. We recorded 57 Leatherback Turtle strandings along the GV coast during 2001–2007. The mean CCL was 126.2 cm ± 16.5 (range 86–168 cm, n = 47) and the mean CCW was 99.1cm ± 12.6 (range 83–109 cm, n = 47). Strandings were mainly distributed along the North and South coast (49% and 46%, respectively), and were mostly concentrated between February and March (51%). Over half (55%) of the strandings showed signs of interaction with human activities. Establishing a relationship between fisheries and strandings in the GV remains difficult. Although the stranding number reported is low when compared to other localities, our results represent a minimum estimate of mortality. A management plan is crucial for mitigating possible impacts of artisanal fisheries in the region.

Item ID: 47793
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1931-7603
Keywords: artisanal gillnet fishing; by-catch; boat strike; intentional fishing; management plan; RAO network
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Copyright © 2016. Héctor Barrios-Garrido.This work is licensed under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/.

Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2017 04:37
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 34%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060207 Population Ecology @ 33%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060809 Vertebrate Biology @ 33%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 20%
83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 40%
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