Saturday, December 19, 2009

Turtle excluder devices may be made mandatory

The world should barred Malaysian prawn catchers' export. Only then these cruelty to turtle will end. Anybody listening?

Turtle hatchery at Pantai Kerachut, Penang National Park

December 19, 2009
Department: Turtle excluder devices may be made mandatory

GEORGE TOWN: The Fisheries Department is trying to find suitable nets with turtle excluder devices for local fishermen.

Fisheries Department’s Malaysia Marine Resources Management section head Ahmad Saktian Langgang said many countries were using the device which enable trapped turtles in prawn trawler nets to escape.

“We introduced the device years ago but feedback from local fishermen was not positive as they said it’s a burden for them when they haul their net.

“The department is not making the device compulsory among fishermen yet. But if situation gets critical, we will consider making it a requirement to renew their fishing licence,” he said after attending the Awareness and Education Programme on Endangered Fish Species at Taman Negara, Teluk Bahang on Thursday.

A turtle excluder device is less than RM1,000.

Malaysian prawn catchers were barred from exporting to the United States more than 10 years ago for not installing the device.

The department’s assistant fisheries officer Mohamad Zabawi Saat said there were 25 turtle sightings in Penang this year.

A total of 82 nests were also found.

“With the help of non-governmental organisations and the private sector to create awareness on saving the turtles, statistics showed that there were less eggs found in the market compared to five years ago,” he said.

There are currenly four types of turtles found in the country - penyu belimbing or Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), penyu agar or green turtles (Chelonia mydas), penyu lipas or olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) and penyu karah or Hawksbill turtles (Eret-mochelys imbricata).

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