Thousands of Turtles Killed By Longline Fishing

Sea turtles beached in Coasta Rica.

Sea turtles were the second most common catch on Costa Rican fishermen’s longlines during the past decade. Sharks also suffered on the hooks.

A team of Americans and Costa Ricans estimated that longlines hooked more than 699,000 olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) and 23,000 green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) between 1999 and 2010. Female olive ridleys made up 92,300 of the total. This represents a serious blow to the reproductive potential of the species, which the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists as vulnerable. The IUCN lists green turtles as endangered.

Approximately 20 percent or 144,400 of the hooked turtles died. People freed the rest from the curved steel spikes and released them back into the sea. However no one knows if the ordeal seriously injured the animals.

“The effect of the rusty hooks may be to give the turtles a good dose of disease,” said James Spotila, an environmental scientist at Drexel University and co-author of the study published in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, in a press release. “No one knows because no one holds the turtle to see if it gets sick.”

Read the full story here.


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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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