Press Centre

Asda casts out old fishing hooked in a bid to save endangered turtles

According to recent studies, accidental catch – or bycatch – is one of the greatest threats to marine turtles. Scientists estimate a quarter of a million loggerheads and leatherbacks are affected each year.

Dr Chris Brown, ASDA’s head of sustainable sourcing said: “Unfortunately wherever there is fishing there is bycatch, so we have to do everything we can to minimise the impact of how we fish. The new circle shaped hooks are much less likely to be swallowed by turtles, and are easier to unhook if they become snagged – so we are confident this trial will be a success. It is also extremely cost effective for fishermen to introduce as it improves the number of fish they catch.”

Peter Richardson, species policy officer of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) added: "The development of the circular hooks by US scientists and fishermen has been the turtle conservation success story of the decade.

“Surveys by our conservation partners in Sri Lanka indicate that fishery bycatch is a significant threat to the turtle populations there. With widespread and correct application in Sri Lanka, the introduction of these hooks could result in a 90% reduction in the number of turtles accidentally caught by Sri Lanka’s longline fisheries.”

“While the 30,000 hooks distributed in Sri Lanka represents only a fraction of the hooks needed to turn the bycatch situation around there, MCS is extremely encouraged that two of the major players in the industry are taking such an exemplary step in the right direction to make these fisheries more environmentally sustainable.”

Dr Brown added: “We hope other retailers will follow our lead so together we can protect the quarter of million turtles that are needlessly killed or injured each year.”

Posted in Press Centre on 12 February 2007