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Across the Pacific, populations of some species of sea turtles face extinction unless recent dramatic declines are reversed. The continuing decline of leatherbacks and loggerheads in particular illustrates the limitations of the current gradual and unilateral approach to conservation. Recovery requires instead a holistic solution that addresses all sources of mortality throughout the entire life history and habitat use of these transnational populations. Historically conservation efforts have focused on nesting sites to protect eggs and breeding females; mortality from coastal and high-seas fisheries was not addressed.
In the past five years, recovery has widened to include rigorously curtailing fishing and technological fixes that lower rates of incidental sea turtle deaths during fishing. Although each of these approaches shows promise, it has become increasingly clear that they alone will not recover severely depleted populations. Recognizing the urgency of the problem, this book presents ideas and case studies by conservation biologists, economists, marine-life policy experts, fishing industry and fisheries professionals, management specialists, and development assistance researchers. It provides a new synthesis and blueprint for action that shifts the paradigm from piecemeal and unilateral conservation to a more holistic and multilateral approach to the recovery of Pacific sea turtle populations.