10 Jun 2009

SPC wants to help reduce number of turtles caught accidentally

11:17 am on 10 June 2009

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community is trying to increase knowledge of how to reduce the number of turtles caught accidentally as part of the tuna industry.

The Director of the Marine Resources Division of the SPC, Mike Batty, says fishing officials from around the region are in Noumea to learn the skills so they can take the knowledge back and pass it on in their home countries.

He says fishing nations have to take the issue seriously as it can provoke a reaction from consumers:

"The pressure I think is on from the outside world, a number of buyers of seafood are becoming much more selective about a lot more concern about the impact that fishing is having on the broader environment."

Mike Batty says line depth and type of hook can reduce the number of turtles caught, but the course also gives instruction on how to resuscitate and release turtles that do become attached .

He says there are also systems that reduce the number of sharks caught by accident or that allow them to be cut free from the lines.