Issues

By-catch

In the Pacific Coast of Latin America, fisheries provide livelihood for more than one million people.
Because coastal fishery resources have been over-fished in many places, fishermen are forced to switch to oceanic long-line fishing, a fishing gear commonly used to catch highly migratory pelagic species such as tuna, swordfish, billfishes, mahi-mahi and sharks.

In the tropical seas, main fishing grounds are shared with marine turtle's habitats and migration routes. As a result, while fishing species of commercial value with long-lines, other species, which are not fishing targets, unintentionally get caught as well. This is known as by-catch.

By-catch problem is directly tied to the use of J hooks in long-line fishing operations. Marine turtles are attracted by bates hanging from the line, by biting the hooks turtles usually suffer fatal injuries. If the hook is set deep in the water turtles cannot reach the surface to breath and can die by asphyxia. When fishermen find hooked turtles in the line, they can decide to unhook turtles, but lack of knowledge on how to do this properly can cause further damage, thus reducing the chance of survival of hooked turtles.

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