Patterns of marine turtle mortality in British waters (1992-1996) with reference to tissue contaminant levels

B. J. Godley (Lead / Corresponding author), M. J. Gaywood, R. J. Law, C. J. Mccarthy, C. Mckenzie, I. A.P. Patterson, R. S. Penrose, R. J. Reid, H. M. Ross

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43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mortality patterns of marine turtles entangled in fishing gear, found dead at sea or stranded dead on and around the coast of Britain in the period 1992-1996 are described. Of a total of 38 dead turtles identified, 35 were leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) and three were loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta). All D. coriacea were considered adults or subadults nearing sexual maturity. Six individuals were assessed as females, ten were classified as males and 19 were not sexed. Dermochelys coriacea (N=20 measured) ranged from 120 to 210 cm in curved carapace length (mean, 152 cm). The three C. caretta were juveniles, and ranged from 15 to 30 cm curved carapace length. Possible origins, causes of mortality and interactions with fisheries are discussed. In addition, contaminant levels were determined in the tissues of three D. coriacea. Concentrations of organic contaminants determined were found to be low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-984
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Volume78
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1998

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