Where Sea Turtles and Fishing Boats Meet

Baula en el Caribe

A leatherback sea turtle hatchling makes its way to the sea (Image by Jual via Flickr)

A study published in the April 2012 issue of Ecological Applications uses satellite telemetry data to identify danger zones where sea turtles and fishing trawlers intersect at sea — with deadly consequences. The insights provided by the study will assist regulatory agencies determine limits to fishing, such as seasonal closures, to protect sea turtles, all seven species of which are considered endangered.




The researchers followed 135 females, some from the eastern Pacific and some from the western Pacific, over 15 years as they crisscrossed the ocean hunting for jellyfish. The study found that the migration patterns for the two Pacific populations were different. Western Pacific leatherbacks leave Indonesian nesting sites to feed in the South China Sea, Indonesian seas and southeastern Australia and along the U.S. West Coast, making them vulnerable to fishing nets in many different areas.

The eastern Pacific leatherbacks traveled from nesting sites in Mexico and Costa Rica to the southeastern Pacific, with many getting snagged in fishing gear along the coast of South America. Because the eastern population is more concentrated in range, its risk of extinction is greater, Bailey says.

The new findings could help decision makers plan short-term fishery closures. Bailey credits a recent decision to close a swordfish and thresher shark fishery in California from mid-August to mid-November each year with dramatically reducing leatherback bycatches. (In 2010 no turtles were caught.)

…Read the full story at A satellite study pinpoints danger zone where leatherbacks and fishing trawlers meet. (Scientific American)

Hot Time at the Beach a Threat to Sea Turtles

Leatherback sea turtle/ Tinglar, USVI

Leatherback Sea Turtle in the U.S. Virgin Islands (Image by USFWS/Southeast via Flickr)

Already the most critically endangered of all sea turtle species thanks to poaching and fishing impacts, new research led by Dr. Vincent Saba, a research fishery biologist with the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Fisheries Science Center, suggests that climate change could impede leatherback sea turtles’ ability to recover. [Read more...]

PBS “Nature” 2010-11 Premiere Features The Ocean Foundation’s Bretos and Guggenheim in Cuba

CCuba: The Accidental Eden features The Ocean Foundation's Fernando M. Bretos and David E. Guggenheim

Cuba: The Accidental Eden features The Ocean Foundation's Fernando M. Bretos and David E. Guggenheim

With the episode, “Cuba: The Accidental Eden,” the 2010-11 season premiere of the acclaimed PBS series, “Nature” features The Ocean Foundation’s own Fernando M. Bretos and David E. Guggenheim, along with other Cuban and American colleagues. Bretos and Guggenheim have worked together in Cuba for more than a decade and head up The Ocean Foundation’s “Cuba Marine Research and Conservation Program. ” Their work includes joint research expeditions in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico waters and a major sea turtle conservation project with the University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research (Centro de Investigaciones Marinas). The episode can be viewed in its entirety online (see below) and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray disc.

[Read more...]

Jacques Cousteau, Fidel Castro and Cuba’s Undying Passion for the Sea

The Ocean Doctor on WebTalkRadio.net

December 6, 2010: Join The Ocean Doctor, along with Ocean Foundation Research Fellow, Fernando Bretos, on a field trip to Havana to visit with Cuba’s next-generation of marine scientists at the University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research (Centro de Investigaciones Marinas). We visit with the Center’s new director, Dr. Jorge A. Angulo Vald’s. We also visit with Dr. Julia Azanza Ricardo who directs the Center’s unique sea turtle research and conservation program in the wilds of Guanahacabibes Biosphere Reserve on Cuba’s western tip. For these two and their colleagues, their passion for the sea runs deep, thanks in large part to two influential people in their lives: Jacques Cousteau and Fidel Castro.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

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The Ocean Revolution is Underway!

The Ocean Doctor on WebTalkRadio.netJuly 19, 2010: We talk with OceanRevolution founder and co-director, Dr. Wallace “J” Nichols, just back from the Gulf region to hear his firsthand report about the BP oil spill disaster. Also, more on the controversial use of chemical dispersants on the BP oil spill. And revealed this week, the secret to the shark-taming powers of the Cuban “Shark Whisperer.”

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.


Like the show? Learn how to become a sponsor. [Read more...]

Historic Meeting Unites Cuba and the U.S., Taking Collaboration on Ocean Research & Conservation to a New Level


Cubans and Americans display the flags of both nations following a historic 2-day meeting in Cancún, México on collaboration in marine science & conservation

CANCÚN, México — In a historic meeting co-organized and led by the Washington, DC-based Center for International Policy and the Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, a group of 15 Cubans and 15 Americans met in Cancún, Mexico to develop a plan for taking joint marine research and conservation activities between the U.S. and Cuba to a new level. Collaboration between U.S. and Cuban scientists has been exceedingly difficult because of the decades-old U.S. embargo, even though research is a permitted activity and U.S. scientists are allowed to travel to Cuba. Complicated logistics and ever-changing politics have prevented all but a few U.S. institutions from successful collaborative projects in Cuba. [Read more...]

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