French Guiana anti-bycatch measures

This National Geographic video says about itself:

Endangered sea turtles are making a comeback thanks to the T.E.D. — the Turtle Excluder Device.

From WWF:

French Guiana set to tackle bycatch

Posted on 31 January 2010

A new law requiring French Guianese shrimp fishers to use special devices that reduce unwanted fish catch will help better protect marine turtles and other vulnerable marine species in the region.

As of Jan. 1, the country’s fishing fleet under the new law now has to use a device called the Trash and Turtle Excluder Device, or TTED, to limit accidental capture of larger marine species.

Widespread use of this device, which took three years to develop, will greatly reduce bycatch among shrimp trawlers. In French Guiana, tropical shrimp fisheries represent a major source of undesired bycatch. Without a bycatch reduction device in place, shrimp represents only 10 to 30 percent of the total catch, meaning the rest is made up of other marine species.

Nearly half of the world’s recorded fish catch is unused, wasted or not accounted for, according to estimates in an April scientific paper co-authored by WWF. The paper, Defining and Estimating Global Marine Fisheries Bycatch, estimated that each year at least 38 million tonnes of fish, constituting at least 40 percent of what is taken from oceans by fishing activities, is unmanaged or unused and should be considered bycatch.

The TTED is an improvement of a previous device, the Turtle Excluder Device, that consists of a rigid grill inserted at a 45 degrees angle in the trawl with an opening toward the top or bottom. NOAA has documented in research a 97 percent reduction in marine turtle captures through using the device, and additional TED studies conducted internationally have shown a reduction in large marine organism bycatch of as much as 91 percent.

After three years of trials, a prototype combining the advantages of different systems was identified. This model, the TTED, offers numerous advantages, including a 25 to 40 percent reduction of fish bycatch.

In addition, the TTED reduces sorting time and risks of injury due to sharks and rays being caught. The new gear also improves the quality of shrimps, which are less likely to be crushed in the bottom of the trawl, and may also lead to a reduction in the amount of fuel consumed by the boats.

WWF will be talking about this successful project at the upcoming Seafood Summit in Paris, France, running from Jan. 31to Feb. 2.

The TTED is the culmination of years of research. With funding provided by the European Union and the DIREN (Regional Environmental Authorities), WWF commissioned a study from IFREMER (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) to determine which selective gear was the most adapted to fishing conditions in French Guiana. These initial trials, conducted under experimental conditions, were carried out on board a shrimp trawler.

Following this work, shrimp industry’s members expressed the need to continue these experiments and to become more involved in the project. In response, WWF and the French Guiana Regional Fishery and Ocean Farming Commission began working in close collaboration in order to determine the best gear for the French Guiana fleet.

With technical support from NOAA and IFREMER, the Commission carried out numerous at sea trials in close collaboration with French Guiana fleets. Specific parameters where tested such as the shape and spacing between the bars of the selective grid. These trials allowed the fleets and the crews onboard the shrimp trawlers to understand the advantages of a more selective fishing gear and the benefits of using it in French Guiana.

Based on the results and the captains’ recommendations, the Commission decided to make the use of this TTED system mandatory by January 2010, when the annual fishing licences are issued.

The TTED was developed with the assistance of IFREMER, NOAA, French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Région Guyane, and the European Fund for Fisheries (FEP).

Good that at last something is done about this problem.

When I was in Baboensanti, in Suriname close to French Guiana, I saw sea turtles. I did not see them myself as victims of bycatch. What I did see as victims of bycatch were many dead crucifix sea catfish on the beach. It is to be hoped that these fish now will have a better future as well.

Global Warming May Cook Sea Turtle Eggs: here.

Oostduinkerke on the West Flanders coast is the only place in the world where you will still see the 500-year-old tradition of fishermen trawling for shrimp on horseback: here.

The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center filed suit in U.S. District Court Tuesday in its quest to halt gill net fishing in North Carolina: here.

Commercial fishing endangers dolphin populations: here.

Whales and dolphins worldwide threatened by bycatch & human activities: here.

“The five overseas French departments which are part of the EU are highly concerned with bird conservation, because they hold close to 900 bird species, a significant proportion of French species”, commented Bernard Deceuninck, Program coordinator at LPO. “Martinique, Guadeloupe and Reunion are also classified by BirdLife as Endemic Bird Areas. They have unique assemblages of breeding endemic birds which are not found anywhere else in the world”, concluded Mr Deceuninck: here.

Sri Lanka pledges to protect sea turtles: here.

This is a Discovery News video on the bycatch issue.

Turtle excluder devices: analysis of resistance to a successful conservation policy: here.

38 thoughts on “French Guiana anti-bycatch measures

  1. Sea turtle nesting season to begin; oceanfront residents urged to dim beach lights

    Special to the Daily News

    Saturday, February 27, 2010

    Despite the decline in turtle numbers elsewhere, ‘Palm Beach numbers have held pretty steady,’ says Christine Perretta, of DB Ecological Services.

    Lights shining on the beach can disorient new hatchlings, leading them to disaster – instead of back to the sea.

    When in doubt, turn it out.

    That simple, bumper sticker-like phrase says it all, marking the beginning Monday of lights out for turtle-nesting season.

    If you are an occupant of one of the nearly 300 beachfront dwellings in town, you probably have received a reminder letter, from the town or your condominium management, asking you to turn out lights that are visible from the beach.

    The point? To protect sea turtles who lumber on beaches from March 1 through Oct. 31 to lay their eggs. For millions of years, female sea turtles have been coming ashore in Palm Beach County.

    In 2008, the last year for which the state has figures, 33 percent of all leatherback nests in Florida were in Palm Beach County. Neighboring Martin County had 38 percent.

    Palm Beach County also scored 25 percent of all green turtle nests in Florida and had 21 percent of all loggerhead nests statewide, according to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach.

    So, it is important to continue to provide a welcoming habitat for these turtles. And lights shining on the beach can disorient the new hatchlings, leading them to disaster — instead of back to the sea.

    “The hatchlings travel inland, toward the artificial lights, where they often die from dehydration, are preyed upon by fire ants and ghost crabs, or sometimes crawl onto the road where they are run over by car,” said Nanette Lawrenson, executive director of the center.

    Lights deter nesting

    The lights can even prevent the females from nesting, which may be why the population of loggerhead turtles may be declining, observers of these special creatures say.

    To support the turtles, and in preparation for the seasonal event, the town has already started tilling the beaches to loosen the sand and has begun knocking down escarpments — vertical cliffs on the beach that are greater than 18 inches.

    “The sheer numbers that nest along the Palm Beach shoreline are staggering,” said Christine Perretta, of DB Ecological Services in Boca Raton, who holds a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to monitor the sea turtles.

    Last year, for example, she said there were 487 loggerhead turtle nests in the Phipps Park area, from Sloan’s Curve to the Ambassador Condominium. In Midtown, from Wells Road to El Brillo Way, there were 354 loggerhead nests. There also are green sea turtles and leatherbacks in this area.

    Perretta said despite the decline in turtle numbers elsewhere, “the Town of Palm Beach numbers have held pretty steady.”

    She doesn’t have an answer why, but she and others said the level of cooperation in town since the town ordinance protecting sea turtles was adopted in 1982 has been good. (To have its own law, the town law has to be at least as restrictive as state laws on sea turtle protection.)

    “Residents have taken ownership! Some of our best policing comes from the residents,” Perretta said. “They’ve really become well-educated.”

    ‘High compliance’

    Bob Schonfeld of South Palm Beach, a long-time turtle-watcher and activist, agreed.

    “The lights (turned out) aren’t inside your building. They are usually searchlights that shine on the waves. People are pretty well informed about why we do this, and no one much complains.”

    He said he watched a turtle of about 500 pounds nesting last year and was awed.

    “She was a big one!” he said with a laugh.

    Some people do take convincing, said Town Code Compliance Officer Rob Walton, who issues the warnings and subsequent fines that run $250 a day for violations. “But we have very high compliance.”

    Crime concern seen as unwarranted

    Others who dim their property lights may worry about crime, said Palm Beacher Susan Polan, who used to have a beachfront residence in Jupiter where she watched the turtles.

    The Loggerhead Marinelife Center, however, said this isn’t a concern.

    “Where this type of light management was legislated in Florida coastal communities,” its educational documents say, officials have found “no subsequent increase in crime.”


  2. Turtle tagged in the pacific turns up in Belize off Robinson Point

    Friday, 26.03.2010, 09:06am (GMT-6)

    Green turtles are a protected species in Belize.

    An adult green turtle tagged in Costa Rica in the Pacific, turned up in Belize waters, caught in a gill net off Robinson Point. She was found by Noel Eiley, a local fisherman, who released her from the net.

    He noticed that she had a metal tag in her flipper and removed it before he let her go and gave it the tag sea turtle researcher Linda Searle.

    Noel and his father were turtle fishermen in this area up until 2002, when turtles received full protection in Belize.

    On the nesting beach at Tortuguero, Costa Rica, CCC researchers patrol the beach each night during the nesting season (March – October), searching for nesting adult turtles. Each turtle found has two identifying tags attached to its flippers. The flipper tags are used to identify individual turtles when they come back to the same beach.

    On the reverse side of the tag is the address for the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research (ACCSTR) at the University of Florida. Anyone who finds a tag is invited to send it to this address, along with information on where, when and how the tag was found. The ACCSTR coordinates the tag return information for many different sea turtle projects around the Caribbean, contacting researchers each time one of their project tags is found.

    In Tortuguero they were able to review the nesting history of turtle 70553, tagged on July 25, 1997, nearly 13 years before. The turtle had been seen on two occasions that year, but has not been encountered on the nesting beach in Tortuguero since 1997.

    The same day that Noel handed the flipper tag to Linda, she was able to report back to him with details on when and where this turtle had been originally tagged. It’s a great example of how the tag return system works, with a rapid exchange of information between turtle researchers working in two different countries- one of the east and the other on the west sea coast of Central America.

    It was a happy ending to a 13 year old saga of sea journey for one happy turtle.


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  6. Volg de agamireiger!

    Dinsdag 2 oktober 2012

    agamireiger / Foto NaturaBureau Waardenburg volgt dit jaar de agamireiger met satellietzenders. De agamireiger is een Zuid-Amerikaanse reigersoort. Het onderzoek is een gevolg van het succesvolle onderzoek met gezenderde purperreigers waartoe Vogelbescherming opdrachtgever was. We nemen een kijkje aan de andere kant van de oceaan!
    Grote kolonie

    De agamireiger Agamia agami is een fraaie kleine slanke Zuid-Amerikaanse reigersoort waarvan we nog veel níet weten. De soort heeft een ruim verspreidingsgebied, maar grote kolonies waren tot voor kort onbekend. In Frans Guyana is onlangs echter een grote kolonie gevonden van ongeveer 2000 broedparen. De reigers broeden in de afgelegen Kaw-moerassen.

    Het is onbekend waar de reigers na de broedtijd heen gaan en ook waar ze hun voedsel halen tijdens de broedtijd. Het leefgebied van deze soort staat onder druk, mogelijk als gevolg van illegale mijnbouw en daarmee samenhangende inrichting van beekjes en riviertjes.

    In Frans Guyana is de Groupe d’Étude et de Protection des Oiseaux en Guyane gestart met een beschermingsproject, in samenwerking met The IRD Institute and The Natural Reserve. Onderdeel van het project is het uitrusten van enkele agamireigers met satellietzenders om er achter te komen waar ze buiten de broedtijd leven en waar ze foerageren. Deskundigen van Bureau Waardenburg hebben daarbij geholpen. Zij assisteerden met het ontwikkelen van een passend tuigje voor deze ranke soort en bij het aanbrengen van de zenders.
    Het project kende een succesvolle start; er zijn nu drie agamireigers voorzien van satellietzenders: Eliot, Origami en Patapon.

    Meer informatie

    Op de website zijn de bewegingen van de agamireigers volgen.


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