Circle Hooks Save Turtles in Latin America

We often write about clever designs that address the problem of waste and energy inefficiency. But what about designs that solve other kinds of environmental problems, like biodiversity loss?

According to WWF, nearly 250,000 endangered loggerhead, leatherback and other turtles, as well as thousands of sea birds, sharks and sea mammals, are accidentally caught every year by long-line fishermen trolling the seas using treacherous J-shaped hooks. WWF has been working with fishermen from Ecuador to Mexico to make the switch from J-hooks to circular hooks, which make better ecological sense.

Recent data collected by WWF suggests that using circle hooks saves 70 percent to 90 percent of the turtles caught by long-line fishermen and has little effect on catch rates, Moises Mug, a senior official at WWF, told Reuters.

The circular hook is wider and its tip protrudes less than the J-hook, increasing the change that it will lodge in the turtle's lip rather than the throat or stomach, which is fatal, according to WWF. The point of the hook actually curves into the hook shank. If the bait is swallowed, the hook will come right back up the throat without hooking the turtle.

The circular hooks are also easier to remove from the mouths of turtles and prevents them from bleeding to death. :: Via Planet Ark

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