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No. 106, 15th November 2013

1. Ultraviolet nets significantly reduce sea turtle bycatch

DATE: 11th November, 2013

Bycatch, a side-effect of commercial fishing in which non-target species are accidentally caught, is linked to severe population declines in several species. Sea turtles are particularly impacted by small-scale coastal gillnetting practices, in which large nets are deployed and indiscriminately snag anything of a certain size that attempts to swim through them. To counter increasing bycatch rates, bycatch reduction technologies (BRT) have been created based on an animal's sensory cues and behaviour. The scientists discovered that loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) sea turtles are sensitive to ultraviolet light wavelengths while many commercially important fish species have UV-absorbing compounds in their eyes that filter UV light. The scientists found that it is possible to exploit this disparity in visual capabilities to develop BRTs to prevent sea turtle by-catch. The scientists deployed 11 nets specifically designed to emit UV wavelengths, and found that illuminating gillnets with UV light reduced sea turtle capture rate while having no effect on the total target catch rate for commercial fisheries. In addition, the scientists note that visual-based BRTs can effectively reduce other types of by-catch; nets that are more visible also pose less risk to seabirds. Simply providing illuminated gillnets will not completely solve the problem; engagement and education of fishermen is equally important.

Link to this web article online (English)

sea turtle bycatch
© Tiffany Roufs/

2. Quang Ngai province, Vietnam: 94 sea turtles carcasses destroyed

Follow-up Bulletin No. 104

SOURCE: – DATE: 12th November, 2013

In the afternoon of the 12 th of November, 2013, Police of Quang Ngai province in cooperation with the Department of Finance, Department of Marine Resources Exploitation and Protection, and Electricity and Environment Company of Son Tinh district decided to destroy 94 frozen hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) carcasses on the landfill site of Tinh Thien commune, Son Tinh district. These animals were purchased from an offshore fishing vessels by driver Vo Van Quang residing in Binh Chau commune, Quang Ngai province and confiscated on the 2 th of October.

Link to this web article online (Vietnamese)


3. Germany: Lego wheel turns tortoise into a bionic turtle

DATE: 11th November, 2013

Schildi a Hermann's tortoise (Testudo hermanni) was found in rough shape in Germany. He was abandoned and missing part of his front leg. What was left of the leg was in such bad condition, it had to be amputated at the shoulder. German veterinary clinic Bird Consulting International took care of Schildi, but had to figure out how to make him mobile again. "Tortoises need to run free in gardens, so he needed a prosthetic," veterinarian Panagiotis Azmanis said . Fortunately, the vet's office had a toy box on hand. Azmanis dug around and emerged with a set of Lego wheels and blocks. The vet first tried a double-wheel setup, but settled on a single-wheel design to aid in cornering. Swapping out the wheel is just a matter of clicking a new one into place. Azmanis expects the tortoise to come in for an annual tire change. The Lego block is held in place using surgical glue on the underside of the tortoise's shell. This also means extra blocks can be added over time as the juvenile grows. A Hermann's tortoise can typically grow up to 8 inches in length.

Link 1 to this web article online (English)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)


4. Hanoi, Vietnam: Opening of the largest aquarium in Vietnam in December

DATE: 14th November, 2013

According to Vingroup Vietnam, on the 24th of December 2013 the largest and most modern aquarium in Vietnam will open in the Vincom Mega Mall Times City on Minh Khai Street, Hanoi. Thousands of marine creatures from all over the world will move into this living museum including exotic species such as penguins; giant crabs, spiders; nautiluses, and moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita). Notably, this is the first aquarium in Vietnam to have an area for reptiles consisting of various amphibians such as iguanas, monitors, lizards, freshwater turtles including rarities such as the Chinese three-striped box turtle (Cuora trifasciata - also known as the ‘golden turtle' rua vang in Vietnamese), pythons, poisonous frogs, and water snakes. The area of the Vinpearl Aquarium Times City will extend up to 4,000m² and its tank volume holding up to 3 million litres, becoming a new home for more than 30,000 marine creatures. Compared to the Vinpearl Land aquarium in Nha Trang this new aquarium in Hanoi will have modern equipment and facilities. There will be 90-minute daily programs providing visitors with knowledge on rare species or basic knowledge on other creatures in the aquarium. There will also be a monthly program with various topics on fish species for pupils.

Link 1 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

Link 2 to this web article online (Vietnamese)

© Bird Consulting International


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