Set unwanted catch quotas
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Fishing can impact reptiles by catching individuals unintentionally or causing injury or death through entanglements in fishing gear. Unwanted catch (‘bycatch’) quotas are used to set catch limits for unwanted species. When the quota for a particular species is reached, the fishery may be closed to all forms of fishing likely to catch that species. This may reduce the pressure on populations of reptiles that are caught accidentally and allow time for populations to recover.
See also: Set commercial catch quotas.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A study in 2005–2007 in pelagic waters north of Hawaii, USA (Howell et al. 2008) found that after an annual unwanted catch quota was established for loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta in a swordfish Xiphias gladius shallow-set longline fishery, turtle catch reached the limit in the second year after the fishery re-opened with catch limits, but was lower in the first and third year. Results were not statistically tested. In the first year after the fishery re-opened with a turtle catch limit, nine loggerhead turtles (0.004–0.049 turtles/1,000 hooks) were caught, but in the second year the catch limit of 17 turtles (0.013–0.044 turtles/1000 hooks) was reached and the fishery was closed for the rest of the year. In the third year, 12 turtles were caught (0.0–0.028 turtles/1,000 hooks). In late 2004, the fishery re-opened after a two-year shut down due the high number of loggerhead turtle catch levels. After re-opening, a catch limit of 17 turtles/year was established, after which the fishery would close for the rest of the year. In January–March 2005–2007, line deployments (2005: 520; 2006: 842; 2007: 797), hooks put out (2005: 429,580; 2006: 670,914; 2007: 689,486), and loggerhead turtle interactions were monitored. In January–March 2007, fishers were also provided daily information in electronic and paper format from a ‘TurtleWatch’ tool that recommended areas to avoid to reduce turtle interactions (see original paper).Study and other actions tested