Dumped fishing nets injure Phuket sea turtles

1 Oct 2012

Dumped fishing nets are continuing to cause major problems for turtles and other marine life in the seas around Phuket. In one 24-hour period at the end of last week, six injured Olive Ridley turtles and a dolphin calf washed up on beaches on the island and in the surrounding locality.

A senior marine biologist at Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC), Doctor Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong, said three of the turtles were stranded on Karon Beach. He added that a rescue team responding to a request for help from lifeguards found the trio had either badly cut or missing flippers.

One of the other turtles beached in the island’s northern district of Mai Khao, while the remaining two washed up on the mainland coast of Phang Nga. Doctor Kittiwattanawong said these three also had damaged flippers.

All of the turtles were taken to the PMBC facility for treatment. The doctor said the turtles were female and had varying degrees of fungal growth on their shells. He added that the presence of the bacteria seemed to indicate the turtles had been snarled in discarded fishing nets for at least one month and had cut their flippers while trying to get free.

The spinner dolphin washed ashore on a Mai Khao Beach, but Doctor Kittiwattanawong said this was more likely to be due to heavy seas caused by monsoons than discarded nets.

A clean up of Phuket’s offshore reefs and seabed yesterday attracted 500 amateur and professional divers. One of the items that Go Eco Phuket participants found in the sea was a massive fishing net weighing 4.5 tons.

The 1Stop Phuket diving guide gives insights into why visitors choose to take dive courses and trips in the region. 

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