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Drawing courtesy http://www.seaturtle.orgThe Northeast Distant Fishery Experiment was conducted from 2001 through 2003 on the high seas of the Western Atlantic Ocean, in an area off New Foundland known as the Grand Banks. In cooperation with Blue Water Fishermen's Association and the Fisheries Research Institute, NOAA Fisheries worked to test various fishing methods, such as bait and gear type, to determine which combinations worked best to minimize sea turtle encounters in pelagic longline fisheries. Thirteen American longline vessels were contracted to carry out the research with NOAA Fisheries scientists and private sector gear developers to find the winning combinations used to achieve up to a 90 percent reduction in fishing gear-sea turtle interactions for leatherbacks and loggerheads. The researchers went a few steps further and developed new gear so fishermen could safely dehook and disentangle the few turtles that were accidentally caught. NOAA Fisheries and partners are now launching an international education initiative to invite all fishing nations with pelagic longline fleets to begin exploring this technology to make all the world's longline operations more selective and help protect sea turtles. (Drawing courtesy The previous link  is an external site.

Press Releases and Media Advisories

Press Release 1/5/04 Government-Developed Technology Saves Sea Turtles; U.S. Calls on Other Fishing Nations to Join Effort
Media Advisory 12/24/03 NOAA Launches International Education Initiative to Spread Turtle-Friendly Fishing Techniques Globally
Press Release 6/3/03 Study Shows How Adjustments in Gear, Fishing Practice Can Reduce Sea Turtle Bycatch in Longline Fishery
Press Release 10/4/02 Good News for North Atlantic Swordfish: Latest Assessment Shows Stock Recovering Quickly

Reporter Tools

Photos for Download

Dehooking a Turtle
Dehooking a Turtle Dehooking a Turtle Dehooking a Turtle Dehooking a Turtle
Longline Vessels
"Destiny" Longline Vessel "Seneca" Longline Vessel "Dominador" Longline Vessel
Workshops in Ecuador
Workshops in Ecuador Workshops in Ecuador Workshops in Ecuador Workshops in Ecuador
Eagle Eye II & Leatherback Lift
Eagle Eye II & Leatherback Lift Eagle Eye II & Leatherback Lift Eagle Eye II & Leatherback Lift Eagle Eye II & Leatherback Lift

Watch the Video: The Leatherback Lift - During the research, fishermen asked gear developers to find a way to bring large turtles on board the vessel to remove fishing hooks or other gear in a way that would not harm the turtle. This led to the creation of a turtle elevator, which is demonstrated in the video, titled "Leatherbacks Aboard" (.mpeg, 12:28, 130MB). TO DOWNLOAD: Right click and select 'SAVE AS'


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Reporters interested in interviews should first contact Susan Buchanan, (NOAA Fisheries, Public Affairs) at 301-713-2370 or Nils Stolpe, (Fisheries Research Institute, fishing industry) at 215-345-4790.

Dr. William Hogarth
Director, NOAA Fisheries

Dr. Rebecca Lent
Deputy Director, NOAA Fisheries

John Watson
NOAA Fisheries

Sheryan Epperly
NOAA Fisheries

Charlie Bergmann
NOAA Fisheries

Shawn Dick
President, Aquatic Release Conservation

Nelson Beideman
Executive Director, Bluewater Fisherman’s Association

Gail Johnson
Owner, F/V Seneca

Jim Budi
Owner, F/V Eagle Eye II

Scott Burns
Director, Marine Conservation Program, World Wildlife Fund

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