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Estimated bycatch of marine mammals and sea turtles in the U.S. Atlantic pelagic longline fleet during 2012
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  • Description:
    The U.S. Atlantic Pelagic Longline fleet operates throughout the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, including along the U.S. coast from the Gulf of Mexico to New England, the waters of the Caribbean, and in international waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic longline fleet is defined as a Category I fishery under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and it is also the subject of management under the Endangered Species Act due to interactions with leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta) turtles. Total bycatch of marine mammals and turtles in the longline fishery was estimated for 2012 using data from the pelagic longline fishery observer program and a mandatory fishery logbook reporting program. We applied a delta-lognormal approach to estimate region specific and total annual interactions with protected species in the fishery. During 2012 , there were an estimated 596.2 (424.7-837.0 [95% CI]) interactions with leatherback turtles and 680.7 (518.0-894.5 [95% CI]) interactions with loggerhead turtles. The primary marine mammals interacting with this fishery were pilot whales (Globicephala sp.) with an estimated 242.6 (145.8-404.0 [95% CI]) interactions with unspecified pilot whales and an additional 10.0 ( 2.0-51.0 [95% CI]) interactions with genetically identified short-finned pilot whales. Potential sources of bias and uncertainty in these bycatch estimates are discussed. doi:10.7289/V5G44N7B (http://dx.doi.org/10.7289/V5G44N7B)

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