Results of Bi-National Project “Reduce incidental leatherback turtles capture in longline fisheries of northern Chile” are exposed in this Dissemination Workshop
10 July, 2023

Results of Bi-National Project “Reduce incidental leatherback turtles capture in longline fisheries of northern Chile” are exposed in this Dissemination Workshop

July 18th, 2023 Periodista Gabriela.Gutiérrez

Fisheries Development Institute Oceanography and Environment Department Monitoring Highly Migratory Resources Ecosystemic Approach project researchers (SRAM ECO), presented binational project results “Reduce leatherback turtles incidental capture in northern longline fisheries From Chile“.

The workshop took place in Ana Ávalos Valenzuela Auditorium of Valparaíso Natural History Museum and the audience was made up of Fisheries and Aquaculture Undersecretariat, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Maritime Interests and Environment Directorate (DIRINMAR), Universidad de Valparaíso and San Francisco State University.

Dr. Patricia Zárate, SRAM ECO project leader indicated that “this project was executed by IFOP in Chile, jointly with MarViva Foundation (Costa Rica) and financed by United States National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The main activities carried out were related to mitigation measures experimentation in 6 fishing trips in northern Chile and 114 fishermen and 37 officials correct handling and release of sea turtles training from public-private sector.

Dr. Zárate added, sea turtles get hooked on hooks, sometimes superficially, causing little damage and easy release, but they also tend to get hooked in more delicate places, such as eyes, and sometimes, turtles also swallow them. when taking the bait, which can cause internal damage that could be fatal. In this project, we focused on evaluating a circle hook use, as distinct from the jack-type hook used in the artisanal longline fishery for offshore dorado in northern Chile. This circle hook had proven to be successful in other countries in the region reducing sea turtles bycatch since, due to its circular shape, hooks are shallower and more difficult to swallow. Our results showed that sea turtles hooked less on this hook, but the same effect was observed in deep-sea dorados, which is not a good result for fishermen who extract this resource. An appropriate mitigation measure for its implementation must be designed to reduce incidental catch of non-target species without increasing mortality in other groups, but at the same time maintaining target species quantity and quality catches”.

Ilia Cari M.Sc researcher added “the workshop participants felt that their opinions, interests and traditional knowledge were considered in participatory workshops, highlighting their interest in continuing with this type of instances or initiatives at least once a year. A key aspect was to consider diversity of actors, including different age ranges fishermen and with different functions, such as crew members, captains and shipowners. Have the participation of international guests, belonging to Conservation Areas National System and Costa Rica Environment Ministry (Rotney Piedra) and Fundación MarViva Science Manager (Cristina Sánchez) and ACOREMA in Peru (Elizabeth Gutiérrez) who presented. For fishermen, the relevance of the actions that they can carry out with sea turtles in Chile to conserve Eastern Pacific subpopulations it was relevant for many fishermen, giving importance to the actions that they can carry out on high seas and for artisanal fishing trade”. The number of fishermen trained in these workshops represent a low percentage of fishing fleets that incidentally catch sea turtles, which is why it is necessary to continue with these trainings both for artisanal and industrial fishing sector, as well as for public-private sector officials in Chile.

This project, of approximately 3 years, has made it possible to evaluate a mitigation measure to reduce sea turtles incidental capture of in the high-sea dorado fishery in the northern zone, generate local capacities to reduce marine turtles incidental capture in Chile and has facilitated regional collaboration to improve Eastern Pacific Ocean leatherback turtles .conservation and management .

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