Interpreting Sea turtle stranding with reference to the spatiotemporal analysis of hotspots along Maharashtra: implications for sea turtle conservation in Maharashtra, India

Authors

  • Prachi Hatkar Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun Uttarakhand 248002
  • Priyamvada Bagaria Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Government of India, New Delhi- 110003 https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9174-5731
  • Dinesh Vinherkar Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare Association (WCAWA), Dahanu, Maharashtra 401601
  • Dhaval Kansara Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare Association (WCAWA), Dahanu, Maharashtra 401601
  • Sagar Patel Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare Association (WCAWA), Dahanu, Maharashtra 401601 https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7902-9970

Keywords:

Reptiles, Sea turtles, Stranding, conservation, Maharashtra

Abstract

Sea turtles are affected by various natural calamities and disasters apart from those
caused by human-induced activities, including fishing operations. Stranded carcasses of marine
megafauna can provide valuable information on the cause of death at sea. However,
interpreting the results can be challenging because stranding probabilities are usually very low
and highly variable in space and time. However, it is crucial for the management of such
species. Knowledge of the spatial and temporal distribution of specific mortality sources is
crucial for managing species vulnerable to human interactions. Beach cast carcasses represent
an unknown fraction of at-sea mortalities. Data on stranded sea turtles were examined between
1981 and 2021 along the Maharashtra coast (N = 510) to detect spatio-temporal patterns and
understand the factors that contribute to their mortality. We evaluated the distribution and
magnitude of sea turtle mortality along the Maharashtra coast. These data are valuable for
directing and implementing specific and local mitigation measures along the Maharashtra
coast, such as avoiding bycatch hotspots through fleet communication programs or area- and
season-specific closures, enforceable legislation, effective penalties, and proper waste
management. This study highlights the importance of addressing these data gaps and provides
a meaningful conservation tool that can be applied to stranding data on sea turtles along the
Konkan coast of India.

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Published

2024-01-02