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Nature. 2004 Jun 3;429(6991):522.

Endangered species: Pan-Atlantic leatherback turtle movements.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, Institute of Environmental Sustainability, University of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK.


The overall extent of habitat use by leatherback turtles in the North Atlantic, and hence their possible interactions with longline fisheries, is unknown. Here we use long-term satellite telemetry to reveal that leatherbacks range throughout the North Atlantic, indicating that closing limited areas to longline fisheries will probably have only partial success in reducing turtle bycatch. Although turtles dive very deeply on occasion (one descended to a maximum depth of 1,230 metres, which represents the deepest dive ever recorded for a reptile), they generally restrict their diving to less than 250 metres, which increases the chance that they will encounter longline hooks.

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