DEVELOPMENT OF A GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM AS A MANAGEMENT TOOL TO REDUCE BYCATCH OF SEA TURTLES IN U.S. ATLANTIC OCEAN AND GULF OF MEXICO FISHERIES
Author(s): Schroeder, B.A., C.Y. Moy, E.J. Petras, E. Keane and M.S. Coyne
NCCOS Center: CCMA (http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/about/centers/ccma)
Name of Publisher: NOAA
Place of Publication: Silver Spring, MD
Publication Type: Poster
Date of Publication: 2004
Abstract: All species of sea turtles inhabiting the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico are listed as either endangered or threatened under the
Endangered Species Act (ESA). Incidental capture in fisheries is a major limiting factor in the recovery of sea turtles in these areas.
NOAA Fisheries, the agency responsible for protecting sea turtles in the marine environment, continues to implement conservation and
monitoring programs, regulations, and other actions under the ESA to recover these species. To further help meet ESA recovery goals
for sea turtles, NOAA Fisheries is implementing the Strategy for Sea Turtle Conservation and Recovery in Relation to Atlantic Ocean
and Gulf of Mexico Fisheries (Strategy). The Strategy is a new approach to reducing incidental capture of sea turtles in U.S.
commercial and recreational fisheries based on evaluating sea turtle bycatch across gear types. A key element of the Strategy is the
development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) as a management tool to facilitate implementation of the Strategy. The GIS will
integrate fishing effort, known sea turtle distribution, observed sea turtle bycatch, existing regulations with relevance to sea turtle
bycatch, and relevant oceanographic features. This will be the first comprehensive GIS management tool dedicated to addressing the
problem of sea turtle bycatch in the region (Figure 1). The GIS is currently under construction and the target date for completion of an
initial product is mid-2005.
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