Report of the Sea Turtle Longline Fishery Post-release Mortality Workshop, November 15-16, 2011
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Report of the Sea Turtle Longline Fishery Post-release Mortality Workshop, November 15-16, 2011
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    "Incidental capture in longline fisheries is a recognized threat to sea turtles in all major ocean basins. The magnitude of this threat to sea turtle populations is not well understood based, in part, on uncertain rates of sea turtles' post-interaction mortality or the likelihood an injured turtle will die as a result of the interaction after being released alive. In assessing impacts, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) uses established criteria to determine the post-release mortality level that will be assumed. In November 2011, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) convened a webinar to review current post-release mortality criteria and to determine whether new scientific information exists in order to recommend modifications. Estimates of post-release mortality are an essential component of risk assessment and fisheries management. However, methods for estimating the probability of sea turtle mortality following capture and release from longline fishing gear produce results with high levels of uncertainty. Empirically-based field studies of post-interaction mortality are difficult due to highly variable conditions that may influence the outcomes of interactions, challenges in tracking sea turtles released at sea, high costs, and low confidence in determining mortality using available telemetry technology. Due to data deficiencies, high variability, and uncertainties in research findings, government policies predicting the proportion of sea turtles that will die after release as a function of injury type (e.g., hooked in mouth, entangled in line) are largely based upon expert opinion in combination with limited best available science"--Executive summary.
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