Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Patterns of Marine Turtle Mortality in British Waters (1992–1996) with Reference to Tissue Contaminant Levels

  • B.J. Godley (a1) (a2), M.J. Gaywood (a3), R.J. Law (a4), C.J. McCarthy (a5), C. McKenzie (a6), I.A.P. Patterson (a7), R.S. Penrose (a8), R.J. Reid (a7) and H.M. Ross (a8)...
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.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Allchin C.R., Kelly C.A. & Portmann J.E., 1989. Methods of analysis for chlorinated hydrocarbons in marine and other samples. Lowestoft: MAFF, Directorate of Fisheries Research. [Aquatic Environment Protection: Analytical Method no. 6.]
Berrow S. & Rogan E., 1995. Stomach contents of a leathery turtle Dermochelys coriacea caught off the coast of south-west Ireland. Irish Naturalist, 25, 3637.
Boer J. de, Meer J. van der, Reutergardh L. & Calder J.A., 1994. Interlaboratory study on the analysis of chlorobiphenyls in cleaned-up seal blubber and marine sediment extracts. Journal of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists, 77, 14111422.
Boon J.P. et al., 1997. Concentration dependent changes of PCB patterns in fish-eating mammals. Structural evidence for induction of cytochrome P450. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 33, 115.
Boulon R.H. Jr, Dutton P.H. & McDonald D.H., 1996. Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) on St. Croix. U.S. Virgin Islands: fifteen years of conservation. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 2, 141147.
Brongersma L.D., 1972. European Atlantic turtles. Zoologische Verhandelingen 121. Leiden: Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie.
Bucke D., 1990. Marine fish diseases: an overview of 10 years investigation by MAFF (UK). International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (CM Papers and Reports), CM 1990/E: 12, pp. 16.
Campbell C.L., Lageux C.J. & Mortimer J.A., 1996. Leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, nesting at Tortuguero, Costa Rica, in 1995. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 2, 169172.
Crouse D.T., Crowder L.B. & Carswell H., 1987. A stage-based population model for loggerhead sea turtles and implications for conservation. Ecology, 68, 14121423.
Davenport J., Holland D.L. & East J., 1990a, Thermal and biochemical characteristics of the lipids of the leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea: evidence of endothermy. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 70, 3341.
Davenport J. & Wrench J., 1990, Metal levels in a leatherback turtle. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 21, 4041.
Davenport J., Wrench J., McEvoy J. & Camacho-Ibar V., 1990b. Metal and PCB concentrations in the ‘Harlech’ leatherback. Marine Turtle Newsletter, 48, 16.
Den Hartog J.C. & Van Neirop M.M., 1984. A study of the gut contents of six leathery turtles Dermochelys coriacea (Linnaeus) (Reptilia: Tesrudines: Dermochelyidae) from British waters and from the Netherlands. Zoolohische Verhandelingen 209. Leiden: Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie.
Dutton P.H., 1996. Use of molecular markers for stock identification, fingerprinting, and the study of mating behaviour in leatherbacks. In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Sea Turtle Conservation Genetics (ed. B.W. Bowen and W.N. Witzell), pp. 7986. Springfield, Virginia, USA: National Technical Information Service. [NOAA Technical Report NMFS, SEFSC, no. 396.]
Frair W., Ackman E.G. & Mrosovsky N., 1972. Body temperature of Dermochelys coriacea: warm turtle from cold water. Science, New York, 177, 791793.
Fretey J. & Girardin N., 1989. Données préliminaires sur les tortues marines au Gabon. Comptes Rendus des Séances de la Société de Biogéographie, 65, 3957.
Fritts T.H., 1982. Plastic bags in the intestinal tracts of leatherback marine turtles. Herpetological Review, 13, 7273.
Gaywood M.J., 1997. Marine turtles in British and Irish waters. British Wildlife, 9, 6978.
Girondot M. & Fretey J., 1996. Leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, nesting in French Guiana, 1978–1995. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 2, 204208.
Grant G.S., Malpass H. & Beasly J., 1996. Correlation of leatherback turtle and jellyfish occurrence. Herpetological Review, 27, 123125.
Hays G.C. & Clarke B.T., 1995. The origin of ovigerous loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) recorded in northern Europe. Herpetological Journal, 5, 323324.
Holland D.L., Davenport J. & East J., 1990. The fatty acid composition of the leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea and its jellyfish prey. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 70, 761770.
Law R.J., 1994. Collaborative UK marine mammal project summary of data produced 1988–1992. Lowestoft: MAFF Directorate of Fisheries Research. [Fisheries Research Technical Report no. 97.]
Law R.J., Allchin C.R., Jones B.R., Jepson P.D., Baker J.R. & Spurrier C., 1997. Metals and organochlorines in tissues of a Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) and a killer whale (Orcinus orca) stranded in the UK. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 34, 208212.
McDonald D.L. & Dutton P.H., 1996. Use of PIT tags and photoidenrification to revise remigration estimates of leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) nesting in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, 1979–1995. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 2, 148152.
Musick J.A. & Limpus C.J., 1997. Habitat utilisation and migration in juvenile sea turtles. In The biology of sea turtles (ed. P.L. Lutz and J.A. Musick), pp. 137164. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
North Sea Task Force, 1993. North Sea quality status report 1993. Oslo and Paris Commissions, London, Fredensburg: Olsen & Olsen.
Penhallurick R.D., 1990. Turtles off Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and Devonshire. Truro: Dyllasnsow Pengwella.
Penhallurick R.D., 1991. Turtle occurrences off Cornwall and Scilly in 1990 with a note of newly discovered reports of earlier date. Zoological Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, 1, 6010.
Penhallurick R.D., 1993. Turtle occurrences off Cornwall and Scilly in 1991 and 1992. Zoological Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, 2, 25.
Pritchard P.C.H., 1996. Are leatherbacks really threatened with extinction? Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 2, 303305.
Spotila J.R., Dunham A.E., Leslie A.J., Steyermark A.C., Plotkin P.T. & Paladino F.V., 1996. Worldwide population decline of Dermochelys coriacea: are leatherback turtles going extinct? Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 2, 209222.
Stewart F.M., Thompson D.R., Furness R.W. & Harrison N., 1994. Seasonal variation in heavy metals in tissues of common guillemots, Uria aalge, from northwest Scotland. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 27, 168175.
Thompson D.R. & Furness R.W., 1989. Comparison of the levels of total and organic mercury in seabird feathers. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 20, 577599.
US Fish and Wildlife Service & National Marine Fisheries Service, 1992. Recovery plan for the Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii). St Petersburg, Florida: National Marine Fisheries Service.
Waldock M.J., Waite M.E., Miller D., Smith D.J. & Law R.J., 1989. The determination of total tin and organotin compounds in environmental samples. Lowestoft: MAFF, Directorate of Fisheries Research. [Aquatic Environment Protection: Analytical Methods no. 4.]
Zug G.R. & Parham J.F., 1996. Age and growth in leatherback turtles, Dermochelys coriacea (Testudines: Dermochelyidae): a skeletochronological analysis. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 2, 244249.
Zug G.R., Wynn A.H. & Ruckdeschel C., 1986. Age determination of loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta, by incremental growth marks in the skeleton. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 427, 134.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 13 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 72 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.