A REVIEW OF THE HISTORICAL MARKET: EFFECT OF THE WEST COAST COMMERCIAL FISHERY ON WESTERN POND TURTLES (ACTINEMYS MARMORATA AND A. PALLIDA)
|Matthew Bettelheim; AECOM; email@example.com; Chi–Wah Wong
In the mid to late 1800s and early 1900s, Western Pond Turtles (Actinemys marmorata and A. pallida) were sought after in California as an ingredient in turtle soups and stews. At the height of the commercial terrapin fishery in California in 1895, about 63,000 Western Pond Turtles were reported in the markets, but agency records are sporadic and a full accounting of the market data remains incomplete. The USFWS initiated a review of the status of Western Pond Turtles in 2015 to determine if there is sufficient evidence to warrant their listing as an Endangered or Threatened species. To better understand the magnitude of the commercial terrapin fishery, we reexamined commercial fish landing reports of the USFWS and CDFW and other relevant texts available in digital repositories to determine the Reported (known) market data (262,600 turtles). Then we estimated the Model-fitted (unknown) market data (261,500 turtles) to calculate the overall Estimated market total (524,100 turtles). Calculated scaled estimates suggest as many as a million turtles were captured for human consumption. These numbers demonstrate the magnitude of the historical terrapin fishery and could provide a baseline to inform future listing decisions.