Turtle decompression

The study on the impact and evolution of the decompression of sea turtles incidentally captured by bottom trawling began in the 2014, at the Oceanogràfic of Valencia. It was confirmed for the first time that sea turtles incidentally captured by nets could suffer decompression, just like divers.

This was discovered with turtles brought by fishermen to dry land, and which had therefore spent several hours (or days) above water.

This finding made it clear that it was necessary to research decompression in recently-captured turtles on deck and their evolution over the first few years.

SUBMON has a great deal of veterinary knowhow with sea turtles and experience on board fishing ships. Additionally, our contact network includes an NGO in Brazil that works with trawling fishermen.


Since 2016, in order to study this phenomenon more in depth, the entity’s activities include a veterinarian going on board a trawler at different times throughout the year with an ultrasound machine. They do this to diagnose decompression in incidentally captured turtles, and transmitters are placed on released animals to discover mortality after release in the first month. Samples are also taken from the animals to study the effect of decompression on their physiology.

This project was developed the support of the NOAA.