In a new study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers show the use-intensity distributions for 135 satellite-tracked adult turtles and distributions of longline fishing effort in the Pacific Ocean. The overlap of these distributions in space and time allows prediction of bycatch risk. Maps show probable relative interactions between leatherback turtles and industrial longline fisheries in the Pacific, over four quarters of the year. (Top row: Q1-Q2. Bottom row: Q3-Q4.)
The researchers argue that time and area closures for the fisheries are essential to protect these animals as well as to maintain the health of the commercial fishery.