Group says beaching of sea turtles in Quezon alarming
LUCENA CITY, Quezon, Philippinens — The environmental group Tanggol Kalikasan has called on fishermen, coastal villagers and government agencies to help protect sea turtles, locally known as “pawikan,” after two of these marine animals were found dead on the shore of Sariaya, a town in Quezon province facing Tayabas Bay.
“This is alarming. The fishermen, residents and government officials should do something to protect them,” Jay Lim, Tanggol Kalikasan project officer, said.
Lim reported that two female giant leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) were found dead on the beach at Barangay Bignay 2 in Sariaya on Dec. 9 and Nov. 26.
The first turtle measured 1.90 meters from the tip of its beak to its tail and weighed 400 kilograms. The second was 1.26 meters long and weighed 200 kg.
The leatherback turtle is classified as “vulnerable” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
According to Oceana, the largest international advocacy organization focused on ocean conservation, the leatherback turtle is the “largest living turtle on planet.”
“Unlike all other marine turtles, the leatherback turtle does not have a hard, bony carapace (shell). Instead, as its name implies, it has a tough, rubbery shell that is composed of cartilage-like tissues,” Oceana said.
The leatherback turtle was suspected to have suffocated after it got entangled to a sunk “baklad” (a huge stationary fish trap) at the bottom of the bay, Lim said.
Citing information from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Quezon, Lim said there were numerous sunk baklad in Tayabas Bay and Lamon Bay that posed danger to these marine creatures.
Tanggol Kalikasan has been conducting an information campaign to help educate the public on existing laws on environmental and wildlife protection.
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