Archive for Leatherback Turtle
www.independent.co.uk 18th February 2012
Researchers at Stanford University in California have come up with a radical new idea for tackling the problem of by-catch in the world’s oceans. By-catch is when fishermen are fishing for a target species, such as tuna, but catch other species, such as sharks, turtles, dolphins, and rays, unintentionally in the process. The phenomenon has been instrumental in radical declines of numerous species, including the Leatherback turtle whose populations have declined in the Pacific by 90% in 20 years. Now scientists have suggested that mobile marine reserves, monitored by satellites, could solve the problem. Existing static marine reserves are not adequate as endangered species simply migrate into unprotected waters. “I thought 12 years ago that we would not be able to do this, but I would say in the last 5 years the science has grown so quickly, at least in areas where we have rich data, we are on the cusp of doing this,” Larry Crowder, a professor of marine biology at Stanford, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver. “We don’t need to close the entire ocean, we only need to close the place where they are concentrated, where by-catch is particularly likely to be found, and leave the rest of the ocean open.” The main places the mobile marine reserves would focus on would be areas of high marine biodiversity such as “upwellings” (where minerals are brought to the oceans’ surfaces by rising currents) and “convergence zones”, where ocean currents collide.