Turtles dying at alarming rate in Terengganu, says Fisheries Dept

Photo: AFP

KUALA TERENGGANU (Bernama): Sea turtles are dying at an alarming rate in Terengganu, with 55 cases recorded by the state Fisheries Department last year, says its director Ruzaidi Mamat.

Although the number showed a decrease from the 78 deaths in 2019, he said the department believed there were many cases that were not reported.

"For the first five months of this year, only 20 deaths were reported to the department and we hope this number will continue to drop following less 'disruption' in Terengganu waters.

"Usually, reported turtle deaths are those which were caught in fishing nets and accidents such as being hit by boat propellers.

"There was only one recent case of brutal killing of a female turtle to steal her eggs in Pulau Kapas, Marang," he said on Friday (July 9).

Ruzaidi did not rule out the possibility that restrictions in the tourism industry since the movement control order was implemented in March last year had contributed to the drop in turtle deaths.

In the meantime, he said a total of 8,195 nests were recorded last year involving 1,024 nesting females.

"This number shows an increase compared with the 7,913 turtle nests detected involving 990 turtles in 2019.

"Throughout last year, a total of 662,097 eggs were incubated at 48 landing beaches and 443,721 baby turtles have been released into the sea.

"On average, only one in every 1,000 hatchlings will grow while the rest are eaten by predators at sea," he said.

Ruzaidi added that based on the department's records, green turtle landings in Terengganu had also shown a significant increase compared with the beginning of the conservation programme.

"In the 1990s, turtle landings were fewer than 5,000 a year but after 20 years, it doubled with the highest record in 2016 of 10,040 landings.

"We hope conservation efforts continue to receive cooperation from the community so that these endangered animals can be protected for future generations," he said. – Bernama

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