300 Endangered Turtles Were Discovered Dead, Trapped in Nets, Off Mexico's Coast

300 Endangered Turtles Were Discovered Dead, Trapped in Nets, Off Mexico's Coast

Floating like a macabre fence of buoys, about 300 decomposing endangered turtles were discovered by fishermen off the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico, on August 29th, 2018, according to Reuters.

The endangered olive ridley turtles might have suffocated from being caught in the nets, been poisoned by algae blooms, or died from swallowing fish hooks. The cause of their death is now being investigated by Mexico's environmental protection agency, also known as PROFEPA, that plans to hold accountable parties liable if criminal or negligent intent is discovered.

It is likely that wrongdoing will surface — nets in which the turtles were found are prohibited from use in the area because of the threat they pose to animals.

Mexico has programs in place to protect sea turtles from capture, injury, and death. However, that's the second mass death of turtles which has been found in the area in the past month, suggesting lax enforcement.

The event also reflects a much deeper ongoing crisis referring to both turtles and other marine life around the planet, and the worldwide lack of serious maritime enforcement surrounding the issue.

Fishing bycatch — discarded fishing equipment such as nets and hooks — poses a major threat to turtles and several other large sea animals. Tons of loggerhead and leatherback turtles are killed by bycatch every year, according to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).

Turtles frequently die by swallowing fish hooks which then shred their insides, or get entangled in and immobilized by fishing nets.

WWF also estimated that over 300,000 whales, dolphins, and porpoises get killed by bycatch every year.

Despite rules that seek to mitigate bycatch harm, some turtle populations have plunged by 80 percent in less than 20 years.

That is partly because many countries have trouble policing their waters, and great swaths of global ocean area are outside of national jurisdictions.

Particularly Mexico has struggled to enforce environmental protections. As both the Atlantic and the Pacific surround the country, its extensive coastlines are home to 7 of the world’s 8 sea turtle species.

Overdevelopment, overfishing, pollution, and climate change have recently converged to make conditions inhospitable for turtles, reported the Conversation.

However, Mexico has taken steps to make this situation better. Independent conservation teams are tasked with protecting each of the 7 turtle species, and marine sanctuaries have been established.

Yet, two separate incidents of hundreds of endangered turtles dying show that more has to be done.

Reference: Global Citizen

300 Endangered Turtles Were Discovered Dead, Trapped in Nets, Off Mexico's Coast 300 Endangered Turtles Were Discovered Dead, Trapped in Nets, Off Mexico's Coast Reviewed by Katerina Papakyriakopoulou on 7:51 AM Rating: 5

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