Sea turtles, some of the most majestic, gentle creatures in the oceans, are having a rough time of it. Though not typically targeted by fishermen, the animals often become entangled in nets or hooked on long lines, and end up as bycatch that is either eaten or tossed like trash back into the sea.
Measuring how many turtles die this way every year is a crucial task; in some places turtle populations are being devastated by the effects of bycatch. It isn’t easy; fishing practices around the world are chronically under-reported. But in an attempt to shine light on the situation, researchers, led by Bryan Wallace of Conservation International, have compiled the first global map of sea turtle bycatch.