Developing a tool to quantify the impact of the scallop fishery on loggerhead sea turtles
 

Project leads: Liese Siemann and Samir Patel

Funded by: NOAA Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside

Bycatch of sea turtles has been a known issue for the scallop industry since the early 2000s, with fishery observers documenting takes of loggerhead sea turtles more than those of any other species. As an unfunded output of the turtle tagging program, CFF began developing our Turtle Impact Tool to provide estimates of the relative impact of different scallop fishery management alternatives on loggerhead sea turtles. This tool will be a valuable addition to methods currently used to quantify impacts using commercial fishery data because estimates can be made before a fishing year starts.

maps 2017 2018.jpg

Seasonal maps of loggerhead distribution from tags deployed in 2017 and 2018.

The user interface for the Turtle Impact Tool

Tool components include monthly loggerhead densities, boundaries for the most recent Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) Scallop Area Management Simulator (SAMS) estimation areas, and estimated scallop biomass for each MAB SAMS area from 2015-2020. Users can input details about different scallop management alternatives, including open area days-at-sea (DAS) and the number of trips allocated to MAB rotational access areas. The tool outputs include maps and statistics that summarize spatially and temporally specific impacts of the scallop industry on loggerheads. With the use of the tool, scallop fishery impacts on loggerheads can be assessed easily during development of scallop frameworks.