Fisherman caught the endangered turtle in the Sonmiani Bay area of Balochistan
KARACHI: A fisherman caught a green turtle in his net on Wednesday and managed to release it safely into the open sea within two hours.
Fisherman Yasir Amin was fishing in the Sonmiani Bay area of Balochistan, some 90 kilometres from Karachi when the turtle became entangled in his net.
Local activist Muhammad Anwar shared that Amin saw that a female green turtle had become entangled in the net while he was engaged in seine fishing to catch sardines near Miani Hor in Sonmiani Bay.
“Although releasing a turtle is a tedious and time consuming process, Amin and his crew worked hard to release the turtle safely,” he said.
According to marine experts, most of the fishermen kill turtles when they are entangled in the fishing nets. “A few fishermen know the importance of green turtles,” said Muhammad Moazzam Khan, a technical adviser for WWF-Pakistan. Yasir is one of those fishermen who were trained to release rare species safely back into the waters, he pointed out.
Khan said that green turtles are endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Catching and trading them is banned in Pakistan under the wildlife and fisheries laws. They are also included in Appendix-I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which also bans their trade in Pakistan.
Despites these laws, thousands of turtles become entangled in fishing nets all over the world and a majority of them die as a result. Due to recent awareness programmes, nearly 30,000 marine turtles are saved annually after they become entangled in gillnet fishing operations.
Most of the turtles that are caught are breeding female ones as they are close to the shallow waters near the coasts, Khan explained, adding that small-scale fishermen engaged in trawling, seine fishing [katra] and gillnet operations are usually the ones who find them. Such fishermen are being trained in collaboration with local community-based organisations, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2015.