Close Window
Accidental Turtle Deaths Plunge Due to Protection September 23, 2011
Turtle escaping from fishing gear
Loggerhead turtle escaping a net equipped with a turtle excluder device.
The number of sea turtles accidentally killed in U.S. coastal waters has plummeted over the past 20 years, mainly due to improved designs in fishing gear, according to a new study.

Researchers at Duke University Project GloBAL and Conservation International say that before the measures were introduced, more than 300,000 turtles were accidentally snared, with about 70,000 being killed in the process.

The number of sea turtle deaths in fisheries is now estimated to be only 4,600 each year.

Among the measures that have proven successful is the use of circle hooks and dehooking equipment in longline fishing, which reduces the severity of turtle injuries.

The use of turtle excluder devices in shrimp trawl nets has allowed captured sea turtles to more easily escape.

The closing of fisheries during times when turtles are most likely to be present has also helped, according to the researchers.

Photo: NOAA