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Estimated bycatch of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in U.S. Mid-Atlantic scallop trawl gear, 2004-2005, and in sea scallop dredge gear, 2005
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    In the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, fisheries observers have documented the incidental capture of loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in both dredge and trawl gear harvesting Atlantic sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus). While the annual bycatch of turtles has been estimated in the Mid-Atlantic since 2001, bycatch of turtles has not yet been estimated in the Mid-Atlantic sea scallop trawl fishery. This report provides an average annual bycatch estimate of loggerhead turtles in the MidAtlantic sea scallop trawl fishery during 2004 and 2005, as well as an estimate of turtle bycatch in the Mid-Atlantic scallop dredge fishery in 2005. Due to the scarcity of observed turtle bycatch in the scallop trawl and dredge fisheries during 2004 and 2005, six different estimates were derived using three different methods. These methods include ratio estimation, the application of a previously developed Generalized Additive Model (GAM) describing turtle bycatch rates in Mid-Atlantic otter trawl gear, and development of a new GAM model describing turtle bycatch rates in scallop trawl gear. The six average annual estimates of loggerhead sea turtles in Mid-Atlantic scallop trawl gear ranged from 81 to 191 turtles (CVs ranged from 0.32 to 0.50). A GAM model was used to examine bycatch rates of turtles in dredge gear in 2005. The total estimated bycatch of loggerhead turtles in dredge gear in 2005 was 0 (CV=0.19).
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