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.



Maine Lobstermen’s Association


Kennebunk, Maine

Patrice McCarron has been MLA’s Executive Director since 2001 and is the former Executive Director of the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation. She has extensive experience in community outreach in the State of Maine and is an expert in fisheries and other ocean management issues through her current and former positions, including Conservation Associate at the New England Aquarium.
Maine Lobstermen's Association



Center for Ocean Engineering, University of New Hampshire


Durham, New Hampshire

Dr. Kenneth Baldwin directs the Center for Ocean Engineering at UNH, serves as a member of the University’s Marine Program Executive Committee, and is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Baldwin applies his expertise in engineering and marine environments towards the evaluation of bycatch reduction technologies, including acoustic deterrents and “whale-safe” ropes.
Faculty Webpage