Guidelines for Developing a Potential Biological Removal (PBR) Framework for Managing Sea Turtle Bycatch in the Pamlico Sound Flounder Gillnet Fishery
Bycatch of sea turtles is a serious management problem in the Pamlico Sound flounder
gillnet fishery. Three species of sea turtles are caught in this fishery and are protected under the
Endangered Species Act. In this paper, I argue that the current scheme for managing sea turtle
bycatch under the Endangered Species Act is flawed, and I suggest adapting a mechanism used
for marine mammals, the potential biological removal (PBR) approach, for use in sea turtles.
PBR is a useful approach for calculating allowable incidental take levels. It is a simple,
data-driven formula requiring a minimum amount of data. It is conservative in that it uses
minimum population estimates and a recovery factor based on the population status, addresses
data uncertainty in a straightforward way, and follows the precautionary principle with more
conservative management when data are less precise. PBR is also comprehensive because it
calculates total take per stock. Finally, it was developed as the result of extensive modeling that
evaluated the performance of the decision rule based on explicit risk thresholds.
Because PBR was developed for marine mammals, the approach and equation must be
modified before it can be used for sea turtles. I describe these modifications, and list methods
and sources for obtaining the necessary data.
There are no fundamental data limitations to calculating PBR for sea turtles, but political
resistance may prove a more difficult challenge. Without clear incentives for implementing a
PBR framework, it will be difficult to move beyond the status quo. But by providing an example
of how PBR would work, as I have done here for the Pamlico Sound flounder gillnet fishery, this
approach may gain support. As Biological Opinions and jeopardy decisions are increasingly
challenged, managers and other stakeholders may see the advantages of PBR and provide the
pressure necessary to change the current sea turtle bycatch management scheme.
Advisor:Read, Andrew J.
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:endangered species act esa
Date of Publication:01/01/2006