Notes on the influence of human activities on sea chelonians in Sicilian waters

G. Russo, C. Di Bella, G. R. Loria, G. Insacco, P. Palazzo, C. Violani, B. Zava


In the literature there is strong evidence that human activity is seriously affecting once abundant sea turtle populations. Much of the impact is a consequence of the increased exploitation of marine and coastal waters. Sea chelonians are threatened, as a matter of fact, by the alteration of their suitable habitats (in particular, the nesting beaches), by the ingestion of non biodegradable debris, by entanglement in discarded fishing gear, collisions with boats, marine pollution, trawling capture and by pelagic and coastal fishing activities. Since 1994 to the present the authors have collected information about 121 individuals of Loggerhead Caretta caretta (Linnaeus, 1758), three individuals of Leatherback Dermochelys coriacea (Vandelli, 1761) and one Green turtle Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 1758), all found along the Sicilian coasts. The collected data (anamnestic and post-mortem) haverevealed a conspicuous impact due to longline fishing activities. Toxicological investigations conducted on 10 specimensof Carettacarettahave shown contamination levels by heavy metals (Pb, Cd, Cr, As, Se) in the liver, kidneys,lungs, heart, muscle and spleen

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Journal of Mountain Ecology
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