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Ingestion of Anthropogenic Debris by Four Species of Pacific Pelagic Sea Turtles Incidentally Taken in Longline Fisheries

Published

Author(s)

Jennifer M. Lynch

Abstract

Ingesting plastic marine debris is a threat to sea turtles. We quantified the amounts, types, colors and locations of ingested plastics in the gastrointestinal tracts of 55 Pacific pelagic sea turtles that were bycatch from longline fisheries from 2012 to 2016, and compared these across species, turtle length, body condition, sex, capture location, season and year. Five methods to measure ingested plastics: number of pieces, mass and volume of ingested plastic, body burden, and the percent of wet gut contents comprised of plastics were all strongly correlated. All olive ridley (n=37), 90 % of green (n=10), 80 % of loggerhead (n=5) and 0 % of leatherback (n=3) turtles had ingested plastic with green turtles ingesting significantly more plastic than olive ridleys. Most debris was found within the large intestines. No adverse health impacts, such as intestinal lesions, blockage, or correlations with poorer body condition, due to plastic ingestion were seen.
Citation
Marine Pollution Bulletin

Keywords

Green turtle, loggerhead, marine debris, olive ridley, pelagic sea turtles, plastic ingestion

Citation

Lynch, J. (2017), Ingestion of Anthropogenic Debris by Four Species of Pacific Pelagic Sea Turtles Incidentally Taken in Longline Fisheries, Marine Pollution Bulletin, [online], https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.04.064 (Accessed September 28, 2021)
Created April 29, 2017, Updated November 10, 2018