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Management experiences in implementing sea turtle avoidance and mitigation measures in commercial fisheries (David F. Hogan)

David F. Hogan[5]
Office of Marine Conservation
United States Department of State
2201 C St. NW, Rm. 5806, Washington DC, USA


This paper describes some of the experiences of Governments and fisheries managers in implementing measures to reduce the impact of commercial fishing on sea turtles that may be incidentally caught or otherwise adversely affected by those fisheries. This paper primarily uses the experiences of the United States in implementing such programmes for certain fisheries, as well as those of some other countries, and is not intended to be an exhaustive description of all such actions everywhere. Rather, it uses selected cases to demonstrate experiences that may be common to various fisheries or important for future policy considerations.


The incidental catch of or interaction with sea turtles in fisheries has been a concern for decades. Given the life cycle of these animals, and in particular their frequent proximity to or co-location with various fisheries, sea turtles are particularly vulnerable to interactions with certain fishing methods such as coastal trawl and gillnet fishing and pelagic longline fishing. This factor, in combination with their status as threatened or endangered species under national laws or international regimes, presents fisheries managers with a serious policy problem: how to reduce or mitigate the impact of fisheries on sea turtles without unduly reducing the viability of the fisheries themselves.

Many countries have statutory or regulatory regimes which guide fisheries managers on the protocols or procedures to use in developing management policies for fisheries that interact with endangered or protected species. In other countries, however, no such protocols or procedures exist, and managers must make difficult choices on an ad hoc basis.

Relevant laws in the United States, including the Endangered Species Act (the ESA), call upon the United States Government to take steps to address human activities that have a negative impact on the survival of species that are threatened or endangered. Under certain circumstances this law requires the Government to stop the activities that are affecting the protected species unless or until those activities can be adjusted or modified to reduce the effect they have to a level that does not prevent the recovery of the species in question.

Six species of sea turtles occurring in areas under US jurisdiction are protected under the ESA: (green turtle (Chelonia mydas); hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata); Kemp’s ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii); leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea); loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta); olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)). Through coordination within the Government under specific provisions of the ESA, sea turtles are the subject of consultations among several agencies and entities to protect against multiple threats or circumstances. Such consultations have been conducted with the Minerals Management Service for oil and gas activities, the US Army Corps of Engineers for dredging activities, the US Navy for explosives testing, the Environmental Protection Agency for the designation of dredged material disposal sites, and many other Federal agencies for activities ranging from nuclear power plant construction to scientific research. Consultations have also been conducted with agencies which manage and regulate state fisheries and with private individuals who conduct activities that pose a threat to sea turtles.

The responsibility for addressing activities that affect these species in the marine environment lies with the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), an agency within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US Department of Commerce. The United States has taken significant action to address bycatch or incidental capture of sea turtles in a variety of fisheries. In particular, two types of fisheries, coastal shrimp trawl fisheries in the southeast Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico region, and pelagic longline fisheries in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, have been the subject of recent and comprehensive actions.

Development and introduction of turtle excluder devices (TEDs)[6]

Coastal shrimp trawl fisheries in the United States employ standard or “otter” trawl nets at or near the sea floor along inshore and offshore coastal waters. For those shrimp fisheries in tropical or sub-tropical waters, these fisheries are often conducted in areas that also serve as foraging, breeding or migratory habitats for sea turtles. Trawl fishing for shrimp at an industrial level uses multiple trawl nets that can be deployed for up to 2-3 hours, with the risk of capturing and drowning sea turtles that cannot come to the surface to breathe.

All species of sea turtles that occur in the southeastern United States became listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA by 1978. Several studies, including a report by the US National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council (1990), found that the penaeid shrimp fishery was the single largest anthropogenic source of sea turtle mortality. The implications of the ESA represented potentially severe consequences for the economically valuable shrimp fishery, including closure of the fishery. To recover the affected sea turtle populations, as required by the ESA, significant efforts were directed toward reducing the incidental capture and mortality of sea turtles.

The US Government initiated a research effort in 1978 to develop potential solutions. Alternatives considered included area and seasonal closures, restricted tow times, and gear modifications. Widespread area and seasonal closures were considered politically and economically unacceptable at that time, and tow time restrictions were not effective or easily enforceable.

An intensive gear development programme was conducted between 1978 and 1980, resulting in the development of the “turtle excluder device” (TED). The TED was developed by gear technologists, working with ideas developed by commercial fishers to exclude jellyfish, an unwanted but abundant bycatch component, from their catch. The original TED design was a metal grid installed in the trawl extension that separated and excluded sea turtles and other large bycatch objects and organisms. In 1981 US fishery managers initiated a programme to encourage the voluntary use of TED technology by the shrimping industry. A technology transfer programme was developed which included industry workshops and demonstrations. TEDs were manufactured by commercial companies under Government contracts and distributed to fishers for trials. However, fishers did not readily accept the technology. They expressed concerns that the gear was too large, cumbersome and complicated.

Research and development continued between 1980 and 1984 to improve the handling characteristics of the gear, and modifications were made to reduce fish bycatch as an incentive to encourage voluntary use. In 1985 and 1986, technology transfer efforts were increased and successful demonstrations of the technology were conducted. However, widespread voluntary use of the technology did not occur.

In 1986, environmental organizations in the United States threatened to sue the US Government on this issue, arguing that the voluntary TED programme was not effective and sea turtles were not being adequately protected. In response, federal regulators called for a mediation meeting between representatives of the shrimping industry and environmental protection groups. The results of the mediation meetings formed the basis for regulations requiring the mandatory use of TED technology by a large segment of the shrimping industry. The proposed mandatory regulations superceded the programme promoting voluntary use of TEDs and resulted in a strong campaign from segments of the industry in opposition to mandatory use of TEDs.

The proposed mandatory use of TEDs also resulted in the development of alternative designs by fishers. The new designs were cheaper, less complicated and easier to use, but were less effective in retaining shrimp catch. The incorporation of TED technology into the shrimp industry through mandatory regulations was met with intense opposition from the shrimp industry that included political pressure, litigation, personal confrontation and civil disobedience. The industry resistance and opposition resulted from several factors which included fear of reduced revenue through loss of target catch and the related economic hardship, denial and disbelief of the magnitude of the sea turtle conservation issue, general opposition to industry regulation, and distrust of federal regulators precipitated by an effective propaganda campaign from industry organizations.

In 1989, after three years of litigation, industry opposition, political pressure, and curtailed attempts to enact regulations, federal regulations requiring the mandatory use of TEDs by US shrimp fishers became effective.

Effective implementation of TED technology required intensive enforcement efforts, including criminal and civil prosecution, fines and catch seizures. This was facilitated by the availability of resources and infrastructure to conduct enforcement activities on a regular and comprehensive basis. Vessel boarding and inspections were conducted by NOAA Fisheries enforcement officers, the US Coast Guard, and state marine enforcement authorities. Often the boardings occurred in conjunction with shrimp fishery area or season openings. The constant presence of enforcement assets and the deterrent effect of significant fines and penalties for TED violations were key to achieving high rates of compliance with the new regulations and ensuring that sea turtle bycatch would be decreased.

Widespread use of TEDs resulted in the identification of operational and technical problems with some designs that, combined with poor construction and installation, resulted in significant revenue loss for many vessels. Cooperative efforts between fishers and gear technologists, which began in earnest in 1990, led to the identification of and solutions to technical problems and the development of more efficient designs. The improved TED design was a simple grid design constructed from aluminum tubing or pipe, which increases strength and durability. The new design employed a curved bar style which provided improved efficiency, effective floatation, improved angle of attack, effective guiding funnels and exit flaps and improved installation and operating instructions.

Effective transfer of technological improvements resulted from intensive technical training of law enforcement officers (who were in turn able to advise fishers on technical problems), dissemination of technical manuals and summary placards, and an intensive technical training programme for fishers which included a multimedia training presentation and hands-on demonstrations by gear technologists. Cooperation between fishers and gear technologist resulted in efficient and effective technological improvements, better communication, a more effective technology transfer programme, compliance with mandatory regulations, recovery of threatened and endangered sea turtle species, and sustainability of the valuable penaeid shrimp fishery. In addition, over time shrimp fishers began to appreciate increased efficiencies in their fishing operations, as the TEDs also served to remove unwanted bycatch of non-target species and debris, which also had a positive effect on overall quality of the catch.

The conservation benefit of the use of TEDs is probably most clearly demonstrated by the progress toward recovery of the Kemp’s ridley populations in the Gulf of Mexico. Over time, scientific studies and stock assessments of the sea turtle populations of this species determined that the population grew at a rate of around 11 percent per year, from the year of the lowest level of nesting activity in 1985 to 1999. The models used for the stock assessment indicated that this growth rate was due largely to the introduction and use of TEDs after 1990, with a likely reduction in total mortality of 45-50 percent[7].

The TEDs programme in the United States continues to evolve. Recently, new regulations were developed to address concerns over the ability of the original TED designs to exclude large turtles, including leatherback turtles. New larger minimum dimensions for the TED escape opening went into effect in 2003 for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic fisheries, and this new regulation brought many of the same difficulties and challenges for managers that the original TED rule created. However, the new designs approved for use in achieving exclusion for the larger turtles also have tested well for shrimp retention, equaling or in some cases improving shrimp catch retention compared to the smaller openings. This has eased the expected concerns by industry over potential shrimp loss.

International experience with the adoption of TEDs

Since 1990 the United States has worked with other countries to promote the adoption of regulatory programmes that require the reduction of the incidental capture of sea turtles. US law has, since that time, also prohibited the importation of shrimp and shrimp products that have been harvested in ways harmful to sea turtles, US Public Law 101-162 (Section 609).

Many of the other countries that have implemented TED programmes in response to the requirements of Section 609 have had experiences similar to those of the United States. The main technical issue for fisheries managers in many of these countries was the resistance to the development and adoption of TED programmes by local fishers, based on the belief that the use of TEDs would significantly reduce shrimp production due to a loss of shrimp catch through the turtle escape opening in the TEDs. Arguments were also made that the United States was promoting the use of TEDs by other countries as a protectionist measure designed to disadvantage foreign producers in the US markets. Arguments were also made in many countries that sea turtle interactions did not occur or were infrequent, and that TEDs were too expensive to purchase or maintain. Many industries also had no mechanism for public comment or input on the development of the new programmes, and felt that their views were being ignored or disregarded by managers or the Governments. In the implementation of the international programme to promote the use of TEDs, the United States worked with foreign fishery managers and industries to address these arguments where possible.

Data from testing in the United States on TED catch performance for target shrimp species was shared, though in many cases immediately reproducing the low levels of shrimp loss (average of 3 percent loss) achieved in US testing and in use in fisheries was difficult for foreign shrimp fishers. The catch rates depended on specific construction, installation and adjustment of the TEDs, factors that were not always taken into account by fishers new to the devices. In time, with additional technical assistance from fishery managers and advice and assistance from US technical experts, many foreign fishers were able to take their specific fishing environments, sea bottom and debris conditions, and gear configurations into account to make the necessary adjustments to improve target species catch rates.

The issue of the cost of the gear was more difficult to address. In addition to the cost of the material to construct the TED and labour costs to construct and install the gear, fishers also had continuing maintenance costs, replacement costs, and initially (until they were able to make adjustments) costs due to shrimp loss from the TED. The United States made it clear in its discussions with foreign Governments that were considering the adoption of a TED programme that the only requirement for the TEDs in terms of construction was consistency with approved designs and functionality. TEDs were not required to be purchased from the United States, but could be constructed locally. Although this did reduce costs for some countries, materials for the construction of TEDs varied in price and availability from country to country, as did fabrication methods. There is also a scale of costs to take into account. TEDs that cost US$150-300 could be purchased easily by owners or operators of large vessels fishing in productive areas with easy access to strong markets, but that same price was more difficult for owners or operators of small vessels during seasons of low production with markets requiring high transportation costs or suffering from depressed prices.

Concerning the argument that sea turtle bycatch did not occur in certain areas and that TEDs were not necessary in some foreign countries, the United States provided flexibility in its implementing guidelines and provided a channel for exemption to the TED requirement by offering to consider scientifically sound studies on sea turtle interactions with shrimp trawl fleets. The studies should be based on data collected through an independent observer programme covering a significant portion of a given fleet throughout a fishing year. However, the countries that were determined by the United States to be subject to the requirements of Section 609 were all tropical or sub-tropical countries where turtles were known to nest, migrate, forage or breed, and the outcome of any such study for a country in the affected group would likely demonstrate some level of sea turtle interaction. Also, the costs and efforts to conduct such studies were significant. Thus, no countries pursued such a study for the purpose of seeking an exemption from the TED requirements of the United States. Only one country, Costa Rica, conducted an observer-based study on the size composition of turtles interacting with their Pacific coast shrimp trawl fleet, though that study was done in order to seek an exemption to the bar spacing specification in the TED design requirements and not an exemption to the TED requirement itself.

Though foreign Governments were able to overcome these arguments, implementation of TED programmes carried additional challenges. Technology transfer to the fishing industry and training and education in the construction, use and installation of the gear was difficult for countries where there traditionally was no cooperative relationship between fishery managers and industry, or where the framework to carry out such activities did not exist. Also, many fishery managers had no experience or practical knowledge of TEDs and had to rely on outside sources to develop their capacity, such as training or information from the United States. For its part the United States conducted technical training and technology transfer for each country that requested it, but for a number of reasons it was difficult to ensure that this information was disseminated throughout each country’s industry.

Another challenge to implementation was enforcement of the new regulations. As with many fishery management regimes, strong fisheries enforcement is a necessary component of an effective conservation and management scheme. This is especially true in the circumstance of Governments promulgating new TED programmes for resistant industries. Many Governments have limited or inadequate resources to support the level of enforcement activity, such as frequent boarding and inspection dockside and at sea, that is necessary to provide the level of enforcement presence that would be considered adequate to achieve good compliance. In some cases, the operating budgets of the fishery management or maritime enforcement authorities were inadequate even to provide enforcement vessels with fuel to conduct at-sea inspections. Even a minimal increase in costs to such Government agencies could not easily be absorbed, and many Governments were initially incapable of securing adequate financial support from the central Government until the industry raised the issue politically as necessary for their continued access to the US market.

In addition, TED programmes require that fishery managers and enforcement officials be proficient in TED specifications, installation and use. The challenges of disseminating and transferring information about TEDs to the industry are also applicable to the process for training personnel and agencies responsible for enforcing TED regulations.

Based on the experiences of the United States and other Governments, one of the best ways to promote good compliance and maintain good relations between the Government or fishery managers and the fishing industry is to build the capacity of fishery managers and enforcement officials to provide advice and assistance to fishers when conducting enforcement activities. If fishers only receive negative reinforcement from Government officials, especially regarding management measures or programmes that they object to or are dissatisfied with and under circumstances where the only direct contact they have with managers or other officials is during enforcement activities, achieving successful conservation benefits becomes more difficult over time and the conservation and management programmes erode, as does the relationship between managers and the fishers. Instead, it is extremely productive to encourage managers and enforcement officials to work cooperatively with the industries during enforcement activities and to approach the fishers in a positive manner, inform them of both the requirements and the objectives of the programme and, when appropriate, make observations or recommendations regarding adjustments or refinements to the fishing gear that could address the concerns or problems of the fishers and possibly improve target catch rates, which in turn reduces the substantive dissatisfaction with the TED programme.

As with the experience of the United States, many countries required years to develop and fully implement programmes, and in some cases widespread compliance among their fleets took even longer. A factor that proved to be useful in many cases was the engagement of the fishing associations or collectives by the fishery managers in order to promote the use of TEDs through education and training. The associations usually understood the implications for their industry and had a broader perspective than individual fishers. They served as good conduits between managers and the industry and often facilitated training and assistance by the Government, and represented the views of the fishers to the Governments in order to more effectively influence management policies. In many cases the constructive feedback from the industry on how to make the TED programmes more effective, or the gear itself more efficient for local fishing conditions, would only have been successfully communicated to fishery managers through the associations or collectives.

Efforts to address sea turtle bycatch and interactions in pelagic longline fisheries[8]

In addition to the issue of bycatch of sea turtles in trawl fisheries, a second fishing method, longline fishing, has recently been identified as having significant negative impacts on sea turtles.

This fishing method, employed in fisheries around the globe, uses multiple baited hooks strung from long main lines. Each longline set can have hundreds of hooks. The lines are set to fish at varying depths, according to the target species (tunas and swordfish) and fishing conditions.

In the United States, NOAA Fisheries determined that longline fishing for swordfish, which uses longline gear set at shallow depths down to 120 feet or less, resulted in the highest rates of interactions and significant mortality. The mortality resulted from the fishing gear itself, both from direct catch on hooks or by entanglement or foul-hooking, and in addition turtles that were released alive from the gear experienced delayed mortality due to the problems caused by the hooks and line that remain in the animal. The post-release mortality is of significant concern, as there is a large degree of uncertainty about such mortality and it must be estimated based on the best available information.

Given that the longline fisheries that had an impact on sea turtles were conducted by US vessels in both the exclusive economic zones and on the high seas in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, steps were required to address this bycatch over broad geographic areas. The status of the sea turtle populations that interacted with the US longline fleets differed by ocean as well. Populations of leatherback turtles in the Pacific Ocean were and are considered to be critically endangered, and required more immediate and comprehensive management measures for the longline fisheries to reduce incidental capture.

Within this context, one of the significant differences between the trawl and longline bycatch issues emerged. Unlike the trawl bycatch situation, which was resolved through the development of the TED as an alternative to reducing fishing effort or closing fisheries altogether, there was no potential longline gear modification readily available for implementation within the time frame allowed for the actions called for pursuant to the ESA. At that time little was known about the specific nature of sea turtle interactions with longline gear, and specifically about what could be done in the short term to reduce interactions. However, observer data did provide information on rates of sea turtle bycatch as well as time and areas where bycatch levels were most significant.

Beginning in late 1999, NOAA Fisheries implemented temporary seasonal time/area closures for the US Hawaii-based longline fishery to reduce the bycatch of endangered and threatened sea turtles. In June 2002, NOAA Fisheries implemented permanent regulations prohibiting fishing for swordfish in the Pacific by US vessels north of the equator and prohibiting all longline fishing during April and May in waters south of Hawaii to the equator. These time/area closures were based on at-sea observer data identifying areas of high sea turtle interactions with the longline fishery. These closures were shown to be highly effective in reducing sea turtle/longline interactions. Prior to the closures, the Hawaii-based US longline fleet was estimated to take over 850 turtles each year. With the closures in place, the estimated annual take is approximately 100 turtles - almost a nine-fold reduction.

For the Atlantic Ocean, NOAA Fisheries implemented seasonal time/area closures for the US Atlantic longline fishery to reduce the bycatch of endangered and threatened sea turtles beginning in late 2000. In July 2002, a final rule was implemented to reduce sea turtle take in longline gear which prohibited fishing with longline gear in an area encompassing over 2 600 000 square nautical miles in the Northwest Atlantic. The closure was based on at-sea observer data identifying this area as having high levels of sea turtle interactions. Prior to the closure, the US Atlantic longline fishery was estimated to take over 3 000 turtles per year. With the closure in place, the estimated annual take is approximately 875 turtles - almost a four-fold reduction.

The closure of the Hawaii-based fishery had serious impacts on the industry. Given the geographic isolation of the Hawaiian Islands, and since the fleet is federally permitted in Hawaii, vessels could not easily move to other fishing areas as they might have if they were based along the coast of the US mainland. However, historically many Hawaii-based longliners would fish around Hawaii in the spring and summer and California in the autumn and winter. With the swordfish closure off Hawaii, about 20 vessels gave up their Hawaii-based permit and moved their operations to California. This became a problem for managers because these vessels continued to impact sea turtles which are highly migratory and occur off the west coast of the United States. Some vessels that did not relocate to California were able to change their gear and practices in order to target tuna, but most Hawaii-based swordfish vessels remained inactive. This led to lawsuits and litigation by the industry and environmental groups to challenge the measures put in place by the fisheries management authorities.

While the time/area closures were put in place as an immediate measure, NOAA Fisheries was exploring whether a long-term solution could be found which was based on gear modifications and other management measures that, if effective, could lead to a re-opening of the closed fisheries and a resumption of fishing effort under a regulatory regime that required strict measures to control bycatch. For such a programme to work, research on methods to reduce sea turtle bycatch was necessary.

In 2003, two studies were completed to evaluate whether changes in commercial longline fishing gear and practices could reduce sea turtle bycatch. The first was conducted in the eastern Atlantic Ocean by the University of Florida in partnership with the University of the Azores (initiated in 2000). The other was conducted in the northwestern Atlantic by NOAA Fisheries in partnership with an industry group, the Bluewater Fishermen’s Association (initiated in 2001). These studies were successful in identifying modifications that can help to reduce sea turtle bycatch in longline fisheries for swordfish. Large circle hooks in combination with specific bait types were shown to reduce sea turtle take in longline gear (large circle hooks alone were shown to significantly reduce sea turtle take regardless of bait type, and mackerel bait in combination with large circle hooks had the highest reduction for loggerhead turtles). Based on these results, NOAA Fisheries is considering allowing the use of large circle hooks (18/0 or greater) with specific bait and offset configurations, on an experimental-fisheries basis in the Pacific to evaluate their effectiveness in overall sea turtle bycatch reduction under normal operating conditions. Regulations are being developed to require circle hooks in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico fisheries, and to re-open the north Atlantic fishery for US vessels.

One of the concerns expressed by US and international fishers is the uncertainty over the effect of such gear modifications on target catch rates. This echoes the concerns expressed by the shrimp trawl industry at the inception of the TED regulations. It is clear that such concerns need to be addressed if gear modification measures that may eventually become part of a regulatory programme are to be easily and quickly adopted by the industry, and additional studies are planned to determine target catch rates for tuna and swordfish based on the modifications that showed the most promise for reducing sea turtle interactions (the effects of large circle hooks on swordfish catch have been documented in the Atlantic study - when used with mackerel bait there is a statistically significant increase in swordfish catch, when used with squid there is a statistically significant decrease in swordfish catch).

In order to implement safe handling practices which could reduce mortality for turtles that are hooked or entangled in longline gear, NOAA Fisheries, in partnership with industry, developed a number of tools that can improve the survival for turtles after release. These tools include de-hooking devices to remove hooks in a more efficient manner, line cutters to reduce the amount of fishing line that might be attached to hooks that cannot be removed, and dip nets to aid in bringing smaller turtles on board vessels for gear removal or resuscitation. Such measures, in combination with gear modifications, are considered to comprise the suite of management measures that so far hold the most promise to reduce sea turtle bycatch in commercial longline fisheries, and may allow the easing of time and area closures if proven to be effective in the long term. However, given the serious population status of certain sea turtle species, such as the Pacific leatherback and Pacific loggerhead, additional measures may continue to be necessary to achieve species recovery.

Measures to reduce sea turtle bycatch in gillnets

Gillnet gear is also highly problematic for sea turtles and is known to be a significant source of mortality in coastal areas and on the high seas. In the US, NOAA Fisheries has implemented several management measures to address turtle bycatch resulting from fishing with gillnets along the US east coast, including time/area closures and prohibitions of large-mesh gillnets. These measures were established based on at-sea observer data and enforcement records, sea surface temperature data (predicting sea turtle seasonal migrations), and records of sea turtle strandings.

These restrictions have been effective at reducing sea turtle interactions in gillnets. Beginning in 2001, NOAA Fisheries closed Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, to fishing with gillnets greater than 4 1/4 inch stretched mesh from 1 September through 15 December each year. Sea turtle strandings in the area decreased by over 50 percent relative to the same time period in previous years. Also in 2001, NOAA Fisheries implemented time/area closures to fishing with drift gillnets in US waters off California and Oregon to protect sea turtles. Waters from Monterey Bay north to Oregon were closed from 15 August through 15 November each year to protect leatherbacks. In addition, in any year where El Niño conditions are forecast for southern California, drift gillnets are prohibited during the summer months along the west coast to protect loggerheads. These time/area closures are anticipated to reduce sea turtle interactions by over 70 percent.


The experiences of the United States and other countries in the introduction and implementation of new gear modifications and management actions to reduce the impact of fisheries on sea turtle populations demonstrate the difficulties inherent to the challenge of reconciling economic activities such as coastal or pelagic fishing with the statutory requirements or policy directives to conserve and recover sea turtles and other protected resources. In the case of commercial fisheries that have direct impacts on endangered species such as sea turtles through bycatch, there were different approaches available to or required of resource managers. However, not all of these approaches or options were easily accepted by user groups, and they require significant commitment of resources, including financial and human resources, to research, develop and refine the management measures and gear modifications necessary to achieve the conservation objective. Some of the important lessons learned include:

However difficult implementing measures to reduce the bycatch and mortality of sea turtles may appear, the management experiences related to the TED programme and the develop-ment of bycatch solutions for other fisheries may serve as an example of how political commitment and technology transfer to fishing industries can result in a programme that reduces the impact of fisheries on sea turtles while maintaining the sustainability of the fisheries themselves and the livelihoods of those participating in every associated stage of the use of marine resources.

[5] The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Department of State or of the US Government generally.
[6] This section was prepared in part based on material provided by Dr John Watson, NOAA Fisheries Harvesting Systems Laboratory, Pascagoula, MS, USA.
[7] This information derived from NOAA Fisheries stock assessments (TEWG, 1998; 2000).
[8] The longline and gillnet sections were prepared based in part on information provided by NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources.

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