Malaysia: Endangered Sea Turtles caught in fishing net saved by fishermen

27th October 2017;

Fishing nets are a threat to the marine ecosystem, which is proven yet again when a group of local fishermen recently saved four Sea Turtles and ending their week of misery of being caught in the fishing nets.

As reported by Kosmo!, the group stumbled upon the distressing scene at roughly 9am on Wednesday (Oct 25) with one of the four endangered marine reptiles in a fragile state as one of its hind legs was almost cut off while its abdomen was bloated.

The captain of the crew, Wan Abdul Halim Wan Mohamed Dom, recounted that they found the trawling net, which entrapped the found Sea Turtles, at 22 nautical miles from the Kuala Kerteh Fisheries Jetty and are convinced that it may have belonged to foreign fishermen.

The 43-year-old went on to elaborate that he along with his three-man crew were on their way to their fishing spot to collect the fish that have been caught, when they came across the foreign trawling net.

“We found a trawling net that was 200 metres long and 10 metres wide. After we pulled it out and cut it open, we found two Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) and two Hawksbill Sea Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata),” the captain revealed to Kosmo! yesterday.

While Wan Abdul Halim shared that three of the Sea Turtles have been released to the sea, the severely injured turtle was taken back to the Kuala Kerteh Fisheries Jetty for treatment purposes.

He conveyed to the Malay daily that the Persatuan Khazanah Rakyat Ma’ Daerah (MEKAR) Kerteh has been informed of the discovery of the injured Hawksbill Turtle, prior handing it over to the Turtles and Marine Ecosystem Centre (TUMEC) in Rantau Abang yesterday.

Meanwhile, Fisheries Research Institute Officer Mohd Tamimi Ali Ahmad communicated that initial inspection revealed that the Hawksbill Turtle was severely injured and therefore, preventing it to swim normally.

“Based on its physical condition, it’s believed that the Hawksbill Turtle was trapped in the drift nets for a long period of time.

"The aquatic reptile is estimated to be between four and six years old and will be treated until it is fully recovered prior releasing it back to the ocean,” he affirmed.

Mohd Tamimi also underlined that the drift nets are believed to have belonged to foreign fishermen, who invaded Malaysian waters as the Department of Fisheries has banned the total use of trawling nets.

Sinar Harian reported that the officer revealed that many Sea Turtles have swam towards the middle of the sea following Vietnamese fishermen illegally harvesting marine produce mostly in the vicinity of Pulau Tenggol.

“Their illegal actions are damaging the coral reefs, which happens to be the primary ecosystem for Sea Turtles,” he lamented.

“I’m proud of the immediate action taken by our local fishermen to rescue the endangered Sea Turtles, that are protected under the Fisheries Act 1985,” he applauded.

Wan Abdul Halim on the other hand expressed his hope that enforcement measures will continue to improve as a means to ensure that foreign fishermen will not continue to threat out marine ecosystem.

Source: Malaysian Digest

Malaysia: Endangered Sea Turtles caught in fishing net saved by fishermen

1. This scorpion fish was one of many sea creatures rescued from the net entangled at the marine conservation area.
2-6. Divers from Local Dive Thailand, Aussie Divers and other Phuket-based dive centers helped free the fish and remove the net.
7. The net reached the sea floor and was estimated to be about 25 meters long. Photos: Instructor Vinnie

Thailand: Dozens of fish saved from entangled net at top Phuket dive destination
By Chutharat Plerin, 14th February 2014;

Divers saved dozens of reef fish trapped in an enormous fishing net draped over one of Phuket’s most popular dive sites: marine conservation area, Shark Point.

“We had just spent five or six minutes watching a Leopard Shark swimming around us, and then, as we came around the corner, we saw a blanket of net covering a large amount of Pinnacle One,” said a Phuket diver asked to be identified only as Instructor Vinnie. “It was an awful scene.”

Dive masters and instructors in the area began cutting entangled fish free. Another team slowly worked on pulling the net away from the corals.

“Most of the fish were alive. There were a few dead ones,“ Vinnie said.

"I thought I was going to see a dead Leopard Shark in there.”

Twenty to thirty reef fish were cut free. Many more, trapped in the middle of the tangled netting, were also saved.

The drift net, measuring an estimated 25 meters by 20 meters, was finally removed from the water.

“At the surface, you could see the boat boys pulling sea cucumbers and other bits out of the net,” said Vinnie.

This morning, a member of marine conservation group Go Eco Phuket brought the incident to the attention of Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Region 5 Chief Tanet Munnoy.

“We have a mission planned tomorrow to drop artificial reef blocks in Koh Mai Thon and Koh Racha. If we have time, we will go to Shark Point. If not, our staff will inspect the area on Saturday,” Mr Tanet said.

This is not the first time large fishing nets have been snagged in the marine conservation area. In July, a Sea Bees staff member captured video footage of an enormous fishing net at the site. Go Eco Phuket quickly scrambled divers and two dive boats to remove it (video story here).

Mr Tanet reiterated that though fishing in the area is illegal, it is difficult for his officers to make arrests, despite having bolstered patrols starting in August last year (story here).

“When fishermen see our patrol boats while fishing in restricted areas, they release any fish they have already caught. We must catch them in the act of fishing illegally in order to make an arrest,” Mr Tanet said.

“However, we recently had a meeting concerning this issue. We are developing several methods for apprehending illegal fisherman.”

Those caught illegally fishing can face penalties of up to a year in prison, a fine of up to 10,000 baht or both.

“Even though arresting fishermen in the act is not easy, we will continue to do our best to protect the environment,” Mr Tanet said.

Source: Phuket Gazette

Malaysia: Fisheries Dept Rescues Two Turtles Trapped In Fishing Net

16th January 2014;

The Fisheries Department has rescued two turtles, one of which was badly injured, trapped in a fishing net at the Rantau Abang beach here.

The turtles were caught in a drift net and were washed ashore with the net during rough seas last week, said Abd Halim Mat Noor, head of the Turtle Conservation and Information Centre in Rantau Abang.

He said villagers found the reptiles, an Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) and a Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas), and brought them to the centre, located about 400 metres away.

The Olive Ridley turtle had a badly injured left fore flipper and had been sent to the Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre (TUMEC) in Rantau Abang for treatment, he said.

The unhurt Green turtle was released into the sea after an examination at TUMEC, he added.

Abd Halim said the two turtles were young, between five and six years old, and weighed between 10 kg and 15 kg.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia: Fisheries Dept Rescues Two Turtles Trapped In Fishing Net