Monday, May 23, 2011

Sea turtles on the verge of extinction in Mozambican waters

Maput0 - At least eight fishermen from the coastal district of Moma in Nampula, northern Mozambique, were arrested in connection with the illegal capture of sea turtles, a protected species which is endangered.

The capture and sale of sea turtle is banned in many states in the world, including Mozambique, since the species are in danger of extinction. Worldwide, there are only seven types of sea turtles, five of which occur along the Mozambican coast.

Thus, detainees must answer in court, accused of having violated the law to capture about 40 turtles. They were recently arrested by Mozambican police (MRP) in response to a popular complaint. The Ministry of Fisheries and agents of the MRP went to the field where they found nine live turtles still held by fishermen.

These were sent back to the sea, according to the newspaper "Noticias". Still in place, the authorities recovered a total of four carcasses of turtles that had already been killed by the perpetrators. Commenting on the illegal hunting of sea turtle biologist Alice Costa, from the Worldwide Fund for Nature, said that eating the flesh of those animals is an ancient practice, a habit responsible for the lack of such animals.

Costa said that besides the flesh of the turtle, appreciated by humans, Mozambique poaching of these animals is also motivated by the pursuit of the turtle shell used to manufacture ornaments such as bracelets, armor for glasses and other items.
Sea turtles also contribute to the maintenance of marine ecosystems, as, for example, they feed of beings (called "living waters") predator of fish larvae.

Thus, the fact that the turtles eliminate the "living water" provides an environment for the reproduction of fish that is a source of income and basic food to many coastal communities in Mozambique. "The hunting of turtles is a reality and we should all join efforts to end these practices, promoting environmental education and denouncing those who even though are still prohibited the practice.

Source: Noticias Newspaper

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