Mediterranean Loggerhead Turtle's tale reveals dual fishing threat


The female loggerhead turtle, called "Thunderbird," was entangled in ghost (abandoned) fishing gear in the Mediterranean last year, and was subsequently fitted with a satellite tag and freed (11 Aug 2020).

Researchers tracked the turtle as it swam through the Strait of Gibraltar and headed south along the coast of Africa.

Most adult turtles that move out from the Mediterranean swim towards America, as they were born in Florida or the Caribbean.

But surprisingly, Thunderbird swam along the West African coast.

"The turtle was found entangled in ghost fishing gear by Save the Med Foundation in July 2020, and taken to the Palma Aquarium rescue center in Mallorca," said Dr. David March, of the universities of Exeter and Barcelona.

"In February 2021, the turtle was off Senegal when we stopped receiving regular updates from the tag," Dr. March said.

"All this suggests the turtle was bycaught by a fishing vessel and taken back to the port.

"We don´t know if Thunderbird was released alive after capture, or died as consequence of the bycatch event."

Researchers are using satellite data on boat movements and working with partners in Senegal to try and find the boat that caught the turtle, in the hope of finding out more information about the fate of Thunderbird.

More at link.

From 2016 - Fishing nets kill ‘high proportion’ of adult loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean

From 2020 - Unusually High Numbers of Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nests in Mediterranean This Year

Sea Turtles of the Mediterranean Sea

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Not a sea turtle, but looks like he has a tale to tell too :slight_smile:

"Loggerhead turtles are also strictly protected and also occur regularly during this period when the animals are observed foraging or migrating towards the Atlantic Sea. Some of them can reach as far as the Caribbean and North America. They may sometimes be seen floating motionless on the Surface basking in the sun. This behaviour is normal in Loggerhead turtles and the public is reminded not to touch or disturb the animals in any way."