Dermochelys coriacea

The worldwide decline in leatherback turtles has been caused, in part, by bycatch in fisheries. Leatherback turtles most often entangled or hooked externally in pelagic longline fisheries (Garrison 2003), but are capable of swimming to the surface to breathe (Witzell and Cramer 1995).  Although not all incidental captures lead to mortality, the number of leatherbacks caught each year is very high and post release mortality rates are unknown. Lewison et al (2004) estimated that the global longlining fleets took 50 to 60,000 leatherbacks in 2000. 


Circumglobal in tropical to sub-polar waters


Photo: Mass DMF, taken under NOAA 50 CFR 222.310 with authorization of the ESA

IUCN Status: 

Critically Endangered



Bycatch Threat: 

Longlines, gillnets, trawls, pot/traps

International Marine Mammal - Gillnet Bycatch Mitigation Workshop


October 17, 2011 to October 20, 2011
Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA The workshop will focus on assessing the state of the art in gillnet bycatch mitigation techniques and developing recommendations regarding best practices, including an identification of research priorities for the future. Organizers: Michael Simpkins, Chief, Protected Species Branch, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, NOAATim Werner, Director, Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction, New England Aquarium Workshop Presentations
Workshop Information
No events

Blue Water Fishermen’s Association


Forked River, New Jersey

Terri Lei Beideman is BWFA's Executive Director, representing the majority of the U.S. Atlantic pelagic longline fleet and its related highly migratory species (HMS) support businesses. BWFA has been in the forefront of the conservation and rebuilding of north Atlantic swordfish, as well as gear research and innovations to reduce interactions with incidentally caught non-target species. Terri is a former fishing vessel owner who has worked with BWFA since its formation in 1990.