Policy Initiatives: Commercial Fisheries

Representatives from the Sea Turtle Conservancy regularly provide testimony to Congress, federal agencies and state officials on issues affecting sea turtles and their habitat. STC closely monitors all issues related to the survival of sea turtles and informs conservationists, the media and STC members about steps that should be taken to ensure sea turtle survival. When threats to sea turtles and their habitats are identified, STC, through this program, addresses these issues by developing solution – oriented strategies.

Our challenge is to ensure that fishermen develop new methodology and gear to reduce bycatch because they understand that bycatch reduction does not prevent them from making a living. By modifying gear and techniques to protect endangered sea turtles and other non-target species, fishermen can improve their efficiency and help to safeguard marine ecosystems.

This program also will integrate our dynamic ongoing international work with new efforts. Currently, for example, a member of the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s staff holds a seat on the Consultative Committee of the Inter American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC). As we anticipate that the Convention will begin to address the unintentional capture of sea turtles in the not-too-distant future, the expertise of CCC staff in dealing with fisheries issues will support IAC initiatives in this arena. Promoting bycatch reduction within various Regional Fishery Management Organizations will be a cornerstone of our new work as these agreements have enormous potential to reduce sea turtle capture.

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