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Home » IOSEA Fisheries-Turtle Interactions

Fisheries-Turtle Interactions in the IOSEA Region

IOSEA Synthesis paper  “Insights into Indian Ocean Fisheries-Turtle Interactions”

IOSEA cooperation with  RFMOs

IOSEA Programme of Work on the mitigation of marine turtle – fisheries interactions

Online news on the issue of marine turtle bycatch

Training/ education materials

Resolutions, Recommendations, Decisions towards the mitigation of fisheries-marine turtle interactions in the IOSEA region

Further Reading



Marine turtle bycatch

At their Seventh Meeting (Bonn, September 2014), the Signatory States to the IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU identified a need to increase the visibility of issues concerning interactions of fisheries with marine turtles in the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia region.

One of the greatest threats to marine turtles worldwide is accidental catch in fishing operations and directed take. Each year, hundreds of thousands of turtles are accidentally caught by gillnets, shrimp trawl nets and on longline hooks. Loggerheads, green turtles and leatherbacks, all defined as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN Red List, are among those especially affected. In addition, derelict fishing gear that has been discarded, lost, or abandoned at sea referred to as “ghost gear” or “ghost nets” often cause entanglement of marine turtles and subsequent drowning.


Measures to protect marine turtles from fishing activities include bans on deliberately catching turtles, spatial and temporal control of fishing, declaration of marine protected areas, legal frameworks requiring fishermen to use techniques and equipment that avoid marine turtle bycatch, training on appropriate handling of by-caught turtles, as well as monitoring and recovery of fish aggregating devices (FADs) and other fishing gear.


Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) caught as bycatch in gillnet. Photo by © Projeto Tamar Brazil - Image Bank.

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) is the main regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO) mandated to manage tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Ocean and adjacent seas. While its primary objective is to assure the conservation and optimum utilisation of tuna and tuna-like stocks, in recent years the IOTC has paid increasing attention to the impacts of fisheries on other marine species, such as marine turtles, seabirds and sharks (relevant resolutions can be found on the IOTC website).

Other RFMOs
with comparable mandates, such as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT), have also adopted resolutions and recommendations aimed at mitigating bycatch of marine turtles.



You can learn more about the issue of marine turtle by clicking on the related tabs above, and particularly by reading the synthesis paper “Insights into Indian Ocean Fisheries-Turtle Interactions”, published by the IOSEA Secretariat in 2013.


UNEP © IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU Secretariat, c/o UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific,
United Nations Building, Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand
Tel: + (662) 288 1471 ; Fax: + (662) 288 3041 / 288 1029; E-mail: IOSEA Secretariat
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