Endangered species: where leatherback turtles meet fisheries

Nature. 2004 Jun 3;429(6991):521-2. doi: 10.1038/429521a.


The dramatic worldwide decline in populations of the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is largely due to the high mortality associated with their interaction with fisheries, so a reduction of this overlap is critical to their survival. The discovery of narrow migration corridors used by the leatherbacks in the Pacific Ocean raised the possibility of protecting the turtles by restricting fishing in these key areas. Here we use satellite tracking to show that there is no equivalent of these corridors in the North Atlantic Ocean, because the turtles disperse actively over the whole area. But we are able to identify a few 'hot spots' where leatherbacks meet fisheries and where conservation efforts should be focused.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Migration*
  • Animals
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Fisheries*
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Population Dynamics
  • Swimming
  • Turtles / physiology*
  • Water Movements