Another turtle found dead




AN endangered sea turtle has been found dead near Al Dar Islands, less than two weeks after two marine species were killed by illegal fishing.

A group of divers found the animal, which was entangled in fishing lines, floating near the Maqsoos Wreck on Saturday.

A team from the Supreme Council for Environment (SCE) has launched an investigation into the incident, a spokesman told the GDN.

“The reason most likely being by-catch during shrimp season – a reoccurring fishing violation,” he said.

“This incident gets documented, like all similar ones, and the turtle’s measurements are taken, as well as the injury that most likely caused its death.

“The law is difficult to uphold due to offending fishermen escaping as soon as they realise what they’ve committed.

“We need to catch them red-handed.”

Al Dar Island manager Mohammed Slaise, who was with the group of divers, said several fishing lines were attached to the turtles limbs.

“We were pearl diving at about 10am and we saw the turtle floating, we wanted to save it but we realised it was dead,” he told the GDN.

“It must have died within a day or two because it hadn’t started rotting yet.

“There were a lot of fishing lines attached to its arms and legs.

“Sometimes when people are fishing and their line gets stuck on something that can’t be pulled in, they just cut the line and throw it in the sea. They have to stop doing this as it ends up tangled in the marine life and kills them.

“We want to raise people’s awareness and stop this from happening.”

Fishermen’s Protection Society president Jassim Al Jeran said turtles “accidentally” get caught in fishing lines or nets.

“Any fisherman who sees a turtle caught in their line or net would try to free it,” he said.

“There is no value for trying to sell it in the market.

“So if there are lines caught, I’m sure it’s by accident.

“Sometimes the lines drift away or are accidentally cut by motors.”

However, he admitted that fishermen often look for turtles as a sign of thriving marine life.

“Turtles choose areas that have a good variety of fish,” he added.

“So if fishermen see a turtle on the surface, they will aim to fish there as there tends to be good catch.”

The GDN earlier reported that rapid response teams were patrolling Bahrain’s coastline on speedboats to combat illegal fishing practices that were believed to have caused the recent deaths of a dolphin and a turtle found washed up near Al Dur last week.

The SCE said fishermen often dump such by-catch, leaving it for dead in a bid to avoid prosecution by the authorities.


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