We deployed pop-up archival transmitting tags on 15 loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) that had been lightly hooked in the United States pelagic longline fishery and on 10 loggerheads that we dip-netted off the surface to serve as controls in the North Atlantic Ocean. We received data from tags of 10 lightly hooked turtles and 7 control turtles. We used data transmitted by the tags in a known-fate model to estimate annual survival rates and determine if there were differences in survival between the 2 groups. The best model indicates there is no difference in survival between the lightly hooked and control turtles, and the estimated annual survival rate was 0.814 (95% CI = 0.557–0.939). Our results suggest that when all fishing gear is removed lightly hooked turtles may not suffer any additional mortality relative to control turtles.
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Vol. 71 • No. 6