Turtles released in deep sea on World Sea Turtle Day

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Sea turtles were released in deep sea from the shores of Hawke’s Bay by WWF Pakistan as part of its initiative aimed at conservation of endangered species of tortoise.

The activity was carried out on Wednesday in connection with the World Sea Turtle Day that is observed every year on June 16 since 2000 with an aim to raise awareness about the dwindling population of sea turtles and their diminishing habitat.

Five species of marine turtles were reported from Pakistan including green turtles, loggerhead turtle, hawksbill turtle, leatherback turtle and Olive Ridley turtles.

Technical Adviser WWF-Pakistan, Muhammad Moazzam Khan, informed that in Pakistan, sea turtles are known to nest on a number of beaches including Sandspit, Hawksbay and Cape Monz along the Sindh coast and Taq (Ormara), Astola Island, Gwadar Headland and Daran along the Balochistan coast.

Thousands of female turtles visit these beaches to nest and lay eggs while that plastic waste, collapsing huts and rubble pose a serious threat to nesting females and juveniles, he added.

As a result of construction of huts along Sandspit, Hawksbay and Taq major nesting grounds of sea turtles are adversely affected while entanglement in fishing nets is the most serious threat to marine turtles.

A WWF Pakistan study, carried out in 2012 to collect data on entanglement of turtles, revealed that 30000 sea turtles were annually caught in tuna gillnet fisheries. To protect the sea turtles, WWF-Pakistan trained a total of 100 skippers and crew members to safely release them and developed a modification in the operation of the gillnets which reduced entanglement of sea turtles by 85 per cent.

Moazzam termed pollution as another major threat to the sea turtle population in Pakistani waters as popular beaches were littered with garbage while impact of diesel and petrol on the population of turtles was also reported.

 

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