KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 14 — Two green sea turtles (penyu agar) were found dead on beaches today; one at Pantai Batu Burok and the other at Pantai Seberang Takir in Kuala Nerus.
Terengganu Fisheries Department director, Ruzaidi Mamat said the two green sea turtles, estimated to be about 20 years old, were about 1.3 metres long and 0.65 metres wide.
“The physical characteristics of the two carcasses found today are more or less the same and weigh about 40 to 50kg and both are believed to be male turtles,” he said when met by Bernama at the location of one of the turtle carcasses at Pantai Batu Burok here today.
He said the two carcasses had each been buried in the area near where they were found.
Ruzaidi added that the discovery of the two carcasses brought to five the number of deaths of the green sea species this month, with other carcasses found at Pantai Penunjuk near Kijal in Kemaman on January 3 and at Chendering Port on January 12.
Yesterday, the department received the case of a baby green sea turtle found dead, believed to be due to plastic ingestion, on the beach at Pulau Kerengga (near Pulau Redang).
He said that the two turtles found today were believed to have died due to drowning after being stuck in trawling nets.
Therefore, Ruzaidi called on all trawl operators to install turtle removal devices (turtle excluder device or TED) on their trawling nets, as prescribed by the Malaysian Fisheries Department as a mandatory condition for them to operate trawls.
In addition, the public is also urged not to throw garbage and plastic waste in coastal areas because turtles will easily ingest plastic waste which in turn poses a threat to the species.
Ruzaidi added that last year a total of 51 turtle deaths were recorded by his staff, and the majority involved green sea turtles.
“In addition, we do not rule out the possibility of criminal elements, where last year a turtle carcass was found with its shell brutally split open,” he said.
Ruzaidi also called on the public to immediately call the 24-hour Fishcom hotline at 03-8888 5019 or 03-8870 4058 if they find a live or dead turtle stranded on a beach. — Bernama