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01-03-2017 10:56 | Read 702 times

Loggerhead turtle death toll on North Cyprus beaches rise

EIGHT stranded loggerhead turtles have been found dead on North Cyprus beaches since the end of January – a death toll which marine biologist Robin Snape ascribed to a resumption of fishing following poor weather conditions.

Loggerhead turtle death toll on North Cyprus beaches rise

By ANNE CANALP

The latest casualty, an 85cm-diameter Caretta caretta, was discovered in a bad state on Yenierenköy beach the previous week and buried by Environmental Protection Department personnel after complaints by the public.

A spokesman said the turtle had probably been dumped from fishing nets and was surrounded by rubbish.

Mr Snape said: “Two strandings were reported at Alagadi on January 29 and February 1. Lefkoşa Mayor Mehmet Harmancı reported another at Esentepe on February 3. The fourth loggerhead was reported at Bahçeli and a fifth at Karakum on February 9.

“Two more have been reported by the North Cyprus Sport Amateur Fishermen’s Association . . . at Gaziveren and Gemikonağı.”

The Alagadi Turtle Project scientist said: “There was a period of very bad weather from December which kept fishermen in port but they have been out in droves during a recent window of fair weather.

“I saw lots of boats earlier this month off the Karpaz coast, including unregistered small boats putting out nets for ‘sokan’ [and invasive Red Sea species which is bad for biodiversity] very close to the southern Karpaz shore.”

Mr Snape continues to study the relationship between turtle mortality and artisan fishery practices and has frequently said practices must be adjusted to reduce bycatch.

He piloted the use of LED lights on fishing nets last year to discourage turtles, but more funding is required for a larger study.

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