Freshwater turtle by-catch from angling in New Brunswick, Canada
Keywords:Angling by-catch, Chelydra serpentina, Chrysemys picta picta, Glyptemys insculpta, fishing, New Brunswick, Eastern Painted Turtle, Snapping Turtle, Wood Turtle, Red-eared Slider, threats, Trachemys scripta
Turtles are among the most threatened vertebrate taxa, with populations especially vulnerable to any increase in adult mortality. By-catch from freshwater angling, as a potential cause of turtle mortality is poorly documented and little understood. Here we document cases of turtle by-catch by recreational anglers in an urban park in New Brunswick and among the wider angling communities in the province. We also consider factors that may influence rates of hooking. Although we are unable to estimate turtle hooking frequency for the provincial recreational angling community as a whole, five of 75 (~7%) anglers interviewed in the urban park reported interactions with a turtle, with most reported incidents (75%) involving hooking. Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina) seem to be more prone to hooking than Eastern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta). Although we conclude that turtle hooking by recreational anglers appears to be generally uncommon in New Brunswick, even apparently low by-catch rates may be sufficient to lead to population declines at heavily fished sites. The collection of additional data on turtle by-catch in the recreational fishery in Canada is warranted.
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