16 - Addressing Sea Turtle Bycatch in Developing Countries: A Global Challenge That Requires Adaptive Solutions for the 21st Century
Coastal fisheries have intrinsic importance to the identity, values, and cultures in many of the communities they occur in. However, despite their importance, incidental capture (i.e., bycatch) of nontarget species in these fisheries is notoriously difficult to assess and manage. In particular, bycatch of sea turtles in coastal fisheries—primarily in gillnets, longlines, and trawls—has been linked to decline in populations worldwide. Sea turtle bycatch is prevalent in coastal fisheries of developing nations, where fishing communities are generally marginalized with high rates of poverty, limited access to education, and few livelihood alternatives. A new global approach to sea turtle bycatch mitigation is needed that can work in diverse local contexts and simultaneously meet social, economic, and ecological needs. This approach can only come from integrating knowledge between local fishers and conservation scientists, practitioners, and managers.