Establish handling and release procedures for accidentally captured or entangled (‘bycatch’) reptiles
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Establishing and implementing best practice protocols for handling and releasing aquatic reptiles entangled or captured in fishing gear may reduce the risk of injury and improve post-release survival. This may involve releasing reptiles with or without delay, using appropriate techniques to remove fishing gear from entangled or hooked reptiles, and using appropriate procedures to release reptiles caught in nets.
For studies on the effect of releasing rehabilitated or accidentally captured (‘bycatch’) reptiles see Species management – Rehabilitate and release injured or accidentally caught individuals.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, controlled study in 2011 in a laboratory in Ontario, Canada (LeDain et al. 2013) found that short-term recovery of painted turtles Chrysemys picta from a lack of oxygen was similar out of water and in water. Recovery from a lack of oxygen was similar for turtles that recovered out of water and those that recovered in water as measured by blood lactate (out of water: 18 mmol/l; in water: 18 mmol/l) and pH (out of water: 7.6; in water: 7.7). Out of water recovery resulted in lower reflex impairment compared to immediately after submergence, whereas in water recovery resulted in similar impairment to both out of water recovery and immediately after submergence (reported as impairment index). Wild-caught male turtles were individually submerged in tanks for 12 hours (held with a cage). Blood lactate, blood pH and reflex response were measured immediately after submergence (6 turtles); after 1 h recovery out of water (7 turtles); after 1 h recovery in water (7 turtles). Reflex response included measuring orientation, startle response, escape response and physical response (see paper for details).Study and other actions tested
Referenced paperLedain M.R.K., Larocque S.M., Stoot L.J., Cairns N.A., Blouin-Demers G. & Cooke S.J. (2013) Assisted recovery following prolonged submergence in fishing nets can be beneficial to turtles: an assessment with blood physiology and reflex impairment. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 12, 172-177.