At their Seventh Meeting (Bonn, September 2014), the Signatory States to the IOSEA
Marine Turtle MoU identified a need to increase
the visibility of issues concerning interactions of fisheries
with marine turtles in the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia
One of the greatest threats to marine turtles worldwide is accidental catch in fishing operations and directed take.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of turtles are accidentally
caught by gillnets, shrimp trawl nets and on longline hooks. Loggerheads,
green turtles and leatherbacks, all defined as ‘endangered’
on the IUCN Red List, are among those especially affected.
In addition, derelict fishing gear that has been discarded, lost, or abandoned
– referred to as “ghost gear” or “ghost
nets” – often cause entanglement of marine turtles
and subsequent drowning.
Measures to protect marine turtles from fishing activities
include bans on deliberately catching turtles, spatial and temporal
control of fishing, declaration of marine protected areas,
legal frameworks requiring fishermen to use techniques
and equipment that avoid marine turtle bycatch, training on
appropriate handling of by-caught turtles, as well as monitoring and
recovery of fish aggregating devices (FADs) and other fishing
The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission
(IOTC) is the main regional fisheries management organisation
(RFMO) mandated to manage tuna and tuna-like species in the
Indian Ocean and adjacent seas. While its primary objective
is to assure the conservation and optimum utilisation of tuna
and tuna-like stocks, in recent years the IOTC has paid increasing
attention to the impacts of fisheries on other marine species,
such as marine turtles, seabirds and sharks (relevant resolutions
can be found on the IOTC website).
RFMOs with comparable mandates, such as the Western
and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)
and the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin
Tuna (CCSBT), have
also adopted resolutions and recommendations aimed at mitigating
bycatch of marine turtles.
You can learn more about the issue of marine turtle by clicking on the related tabs
above, and particularly by reading the synthesis paper “Insights
into Indian Ocean Fisheries-Turtle Interactions”,
published by the IOSEA Secretariat in 2013.