Bottom trawl catch comparison in the Mediterranean Sea: Flexible Turtle Excluder Device (TED) vs traditional gear

Authors: 

Vasapollo, C., Virgili, M., Petetta, A., Bargione, G., Sala, A., Lucchetti, A.

Year: 

2019

Journal/Publisher Name: 

bioRxiv (pre-print)

Volume (Issue #): 

610089

Contact information: 

National Research Council (CNR), Institute of Biological Resources and Marine Biotechnologies (IRBIM) of Ancona, Largo Fiera della Pesca, 1 – 60125 Ancona, Italy, c.vasapollo@irbim.cnr.it
Summary: 

In the Mediterranean Sea, trawl nets have high levels of bycatch of protected species, including the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), with high rates of mortality. A new flexible Turtle Excluder Device (TED) was tested for the first time on a commercial scale in the Mediterranean Sea to assess its effectiveness in reducing bycatch. The results did not show any significant (α = 0.05) loss in terms of commercial catch weight, but resulted in a significant reduction of debris in the codend of the nets in comparison to traditional nets. During the study, no turtles were captured in either the traditional or TED net. While modification of fishing gears require significant investment, the flexible TED is technically feasible in the Mediterranean and may assist in the conservation of loggerhead sea turtles.