Posts tagged South America
The Continuing Tale of Circle Hooks in Brazil

Incidental capture of sea turtles in pelagic and coastal fisheries (also called bycatch) is arguably the greatest threat to sea turtles worldwide. Yet, until recently, there was practically no information regarding sea turtle interactions with longline fisheries in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. The first studies about this topic were made public by Uruguayan researchers in 1998, the same year that Brazilian researchers presented a report about the incidental capture of loggerhead turtles by longline vessels in Brazil. Although the government insisted that incidental capture was very low, Brazilian NGOs such as Projeto TAMAR asserted the opposite.

Read More
Addressing the Plastic Pollution Challenge in Uruguay

In Uruguay, the threat of plastic pollution looms large in an area considered to be an important foraging and developmental habitat for sea turtles in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. In recent years, NGO Karumbé has focused in on the issue of plastic pollution through strong community engagement programs designed to embed conservation ethics in the Uruguayan people.

Read More
Scientific Tourism, Fibropapillomatosis, and Learning to Stay Out of Nature's Way

It is seven o’clock in the morning, and we are on an old wooden pier in a mangrove swamp on the south coast of Bahia, Brazil. After a night spent on a bus, our group boards two traditional fishing boats heading to Coroa Vermelha Island, a coral reef 13 kilometers offshore. Students of veterinary medicine and biology, journalists, an economist, an architect, a sales representative, and a retiree. Our shared goal is to capture juvenile green turtles, looking for signs of an all-too-common disease.

Read More
Itapuã, Brazil: A Case Study for Urban Engagement in Turtle Conservation

When TAMAR started monitoring Itapuã beach in 1990, staff had to relocate nearly all nests to ensure that hatchlings would survive. Thanks to years of working with local stakeholders, coordinated social media campaigns, and public outreach. In the ensuing years, enhanced local participation in the protection efforts made it possible to increase in situ protection of nests from only 3 nests to 140 over the course of nearly 3 decades.

Read More
Why Europe Needs to Adopt Turtle Excluder Devices

TEDs are a simple but elegant solution for minimizing sea turtle bycatch in trawl fisheries. As such, they are now mandated by many governments around the world and their use is enforced. However, Europe, which is the largest market for fisheries products in the world, has no such regulation and provides an alternative market for countries that do not use TEDs.

Read More
Building Bycatch Solutions from the Ground Up for the East Pacific Leatherback

The East Pacific population of the leatherback is one of the world’s most threatened marine turtle regional management units, due in large part to bycatch of leatherbacks in foraging grounds. There may now be fewer than 1,000 adult females in this population owing to a combination of fisheries bycatch, egg harvesting, and other threats. As such, an expert working group was assembled to develop a 10-year regional action plan to halt and reverse the decline of the East Pacific leatherback turtle.

Read More
The Wayuu: Shepherds of the Sea

The Wayuu, of northern South America, consider themselves to be the protectors and custodians of an ancient culture based on maintaining a harmonious alliance with nature. Like many other indigenous groups around the world, the Wayuu revere turtles to this day for their spiritual and cultural values and as a source of food, medicine, and other products that are crucial to their daily lives.

Read More
A Dam Disaster in Brazil and Its Impacts on Distant Sea Turtle Beaches

The recent collapse of a tailings dam at a Samarco ore mine in the municipality of Mariana, Minas Gerais, Brazil, is now being called the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history. In the state of Espírito Santo at the mouth of the Rio Doce, pollutants ultimately despoiled globally important leatherback and loggerhead nesting beaches.

Read More