The Fishing and Marine Industry Daily News Feed

Updates on the Sea Turtle Menhaden Purse Seine Project

A project focused on observing sea turtle interactions in the Gulf menhaden purse seine fishery kicked off in 2020. Approved in the 2019 Open Ocean Restoration Plan 2, NOAA and fishing industry partners have completed the first steps in this important project—testing out observer methods in the field.

Fishery observers are biological technicians collecting data, and tracking interactions with sea turtles and other animals in commercial fisheries. This fishery utilizes large purse seine nets, deployed around schools of menhaden, which are small, but economically important fish.

Other fish and animals can be incidentally caught and entangled in the purse seine nets as they’re hauled in, potentially causing injuries or death. There isn’t a strong understanding of if and when sea turtles are caught, so this project focuses on:

  • Developing methods to observe Gulf menhaden fishery operations to better understand sea turtle interactions
  • Identifying opportunities for voluntary measures to avoid and reduce those interactions

In this initial phase of work, NOAA has worked collaboratively with menhaden commercial fishing industry representatives to conduct fieldwork to test different observation methods.

Those observation methods, and a summary report about the fieldwork and testing are available at our latest Open Ocean restoration project update >>

Collaboration is key to many projects in the Open Ocean restoration portfolio. The project team is relying on fishing industry partners’ stepping up to participate and collaborate. NOAA works with a steering committee of industry representatives to help guide the project. Purse seine fishing vessels and crews also volunteered their time to field test the methodologies, and will support an upcoming pilot phase.

Read more.

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