| Estimated bycatch of marine mammals and sea turtles in the U.S. Atlantic pelagic longline fleet during 2007 - :8618 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
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Estimated bycatch of marine mammals and sea turtles in the U.S. Atlantic pelagic longline fleet during 2007
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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 2007 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 for the fishery. During 2007, there were an estimated 499 (375 - 663 95% CI) interactions with leatherback turtles, 542 (406 - 720 95% CI) interactions with loggerhead turtles, and one interaction with an olive ridley turtle (0 - 5 95% CI). The primary marine mammal interacting with this fishery was pilot whale ( Globicephala sp.) with an estimated 87 (38 - 196 95% CI) interactions. Additional marine mammal species interacting with this fishery included an estimated 13 bottlenose dolphins (3 - 53 95% CI), 20 Risso's dolphins (7 - 62 95% CI), and 22 unidentified marine mammals (7 - 74 95% CI). Potential sources of bias and uncertainty in these bycatch estimates are discussed. During 2005 to 2007, since the implementation of regulations to reduce sea turtle bycatch rates in late 2004, the overall bycatch rate for leatherback turtles has declined by 59% and that for loggerhead turtles has declined by 22% compared to the three years prior to the regulations (2002-2004).

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