August 15, 2022

Readers mail…
Damla Beton ..
Northern Cyprus Turtle Protection Society (SPOT)…..

During the last week, six Caretta and two green sea turtles arrived at the shores of Iskele and Boğaz.  We found that five of them had died by drowning.

According to the estimates of fisheries research conducted within the Northern Cyprus Turtle Protection Society (SPOT), thousands of turtles die every year in fishing nets. The most fatal period of the year is in the months of May and June, when fishing increases, settled turtles are active and the turtles that migrate to our island from other countries approach our beaches to lay eggs.

Turtles take at least 30 years to reach adulthood. In the limited time they come to Cyprus for feeding or breeding, they die in fishing nets which is causing their numbers to decrease rapidly.

So far during 2020, 139 turtles were recorded by SPOT which were either washed up dead or caught in fishing nets and half of them (72) were recorded in the last two months.  But even more worrying is that the three turtles found in the Boğaz-Kalecik region this week were killed by dogs roaming on the beach.

SPOT is in cooperation with professional and amateur fishermen and works with the Livestock Department, Environmental Protection Agency, fisheries representatives and other stakeholders to develop sustainable fishing.

In this context, we invite all fishermen to comply with national laws so that we can have healthier seas.

According to the law, in the period we are in:

  • no fisherman can throw a net from 10m to shallow
  • amateur fishermen cannot use fanned fishing lines

In addition, we ask the TRNC Coast Guard agency to closely monitor fishing activities in shallow waters from 30 meters, where sting fishing is most common, and especially to increase controls between 05.00am and 09.00am in the morning and encourage fishermen to enforce the law. Only in this way can we reduce turtle deaths.

Even more importantly, nets are not left in the water for longer than 4 hours when fishing in shallow waters. We know that many amateur and professional fishermen drop the nets into the water in the afternoon and collect them the following morning. The fishing, which is applied in the shallow waters where the turtles are dense, leaving the nets in the sea for a long time, causes the death of many turtles. We ask them to support their own initiative on this issue and to fish in such a way that they do not keep the nets in the water for more than 4 hours. Only in this way can our seas become healthier.

Sea turtles are the mascot of TRNC. Moreover, most fishermen recognize that they have a right to life, and even appreciate their valuable presence in their habitat as gardeners of our seas.

Moreover, when the Caretta, named Noga, which was healed and rehabilitated in Israel, visited our Famagusta beaches, it caused international sadness.

We urge all interested people and especially fishermen to contact us directly about the dead or injured turtles they have observed. Thus, we can take the necessary measures to protect and keep them alive.  Contact us on 0548 8868684 to report other rare sea animals such as sea turtles, sharks, seals and dolphins which have been observed as being in difficulty.

We would like to thank all our supporters of the Northern Cyprus Turtle Protection Society.

Source (Turkish):  Northern Cyprus Turtle Protection Society

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