sea turtles and sharks bycatch in Greece: Fishers’ and stakeholders’ knowledge

Sea turtles and sharks bycatch in Greece: Fishers’ and stakeholders’ knowledge

Eleana Touloupaki, Nikolaos Doumpas, Dimitrios Bouziotis, Vicky Rae, Dimitrios K. Moutopoulos, Ioannis Giovos

MEDASSET-Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles, Athens, GREECE
iSea, Environmental Organisation for the Preservation of the Aquatic Systems, Thessaloniki, GREECE
Department of Animal Production, Fisheries & Aquaculture, University of Patras, Mesolonghi, GREECE

ORCID IDs: E.T. 0000-0002-4020-4900; N.D. 0000-0002-6713-325X; D.B. 0000-0002-9250-2133; V.R. 0000-0002-6248-1749; D.K.M. 0000-0001-5873-9893; I.G. 0000-0001-5733-0092


One of the biggest threats facing vulnerable marine megafauna is their interaction with fisheries. Numerous studies have typically been confined to single taxa, however, the risk applies mutually to the majority of vulnerable marine megafauna. Using a bottom-up approach to utilize fishers and fisheries stakeholders’ knowledge and perceptions of incidental capture for two vulnerable megafauna taxa, sea turtles and sharks, five important ports of Greece accounting 65% of the country’s fishing fleet were surveyed. All respondents interacted with at least one of the megafauna species (dolphins, monk seals, sea turtles, elasmobranchs and sea birds), declared that they commonly bycatch them and were well-aware only of sea turtles conservation, knowledge and handling releasing techniques as opposed to sharks. The statements provided by the administration authorities revealed that a great number of employees were familiar with the species under protection, the biodiversity sustainability and the in-force legislation, whereas a vast majority of them were not aware of bycatch incidents, a fact that strongly indicated the lack of mutual communication among professionals and stakeholders.

 Keywords: Marine megafauna, fisheries interaction, Mediterranean

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