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Fishing nets plague Leatherbacks

Sunday, April 17 2011

click on pic to zoom in
 Aaliyah James looks at a dead Leatherback turtle found entangled in a fishing net yesterday, on the Manzanilla Beach.   ...
Aaliyah James looks at a dead Leatherback turtle found entangled in a fishing net yesterday, on the Manzanilla Beach. ...

In yet another incident involving incidental catch in fisheries, a drowned turtle has washed up on the Manzanilla Beach yesterday, entangled in a fishing net. Michael James, one of the community members patrolling the beach at nights to offer protection to the nesting turtles lamented that this is the seventh dead turtle he has observed at this beach since the season started in March. He said, “This is really sad for us to see, especially as the patrol team works diligently each night to save this animal from harm. We have not had any turtles killed from poachers and it is hard to see that once they return to the sea, we are powerless to save them from this lethal weapon.”

Studies done on the turtles’ whereabouts during the season show that there is a large congregation of turtles which stay around the north and east coastlines of Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, sources said yesterday, the authorities must consider additional protective measures for them in the marine environment. A first order of business should be creating gateways for these turtles to come ashore when they have to lay their eggs. This can be achieved by declaring certain areas in the waters as no fishing zones, so that fishing nets will not be an impediment.

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