In Mozambique there are five species of sea turtle that occur along the coast. They are all threatened and therefore being protected by law (and have been for over 45 years). Despite efforts to reduce the effect of illegal fishing on sea turtle populations, capture of these creatures still occurs regularly. source
Our recent rescue.
Our managing couple, Tracy and Justin, spotted an adult Green sea turtle in the possession of local fishermen. The turtle was captured using a mosquito net (visible in the photo) and was upside down in the small fishing boat. It was in distress but, luckily, still alive.
The fishermen stated that they captured the turtle for food. In this area the capture of turtles for sustenance is very prevalent and persuading the fishermen to let their meal go would quickly appear to be a lost cause. After negotiating for a while, the fishermen agreed to let the turtle go in exchange for 4000 Meticals (~$54,15).
Giving the fishermen money, unfortunately, only drives their motivation to capture more turtles, and is not seen as best practice. By offering to pay for the release of a turtle a trade in itself becomes made. However, in the end, in order to persuade the captors, they were forced to offer them 1000 Meticals (~$13,54).
The turtle was released and with help from bystanders, Justin helped to guide the heavy and very tired turtle back into the blue of the ocean. We are certain this must have been an extremely stressful and traumatic event, and although we were fortunate to rescue this one turtle, there are many turtles who will not escape this fate.
The turtle quickly disappeared into the waves and was not seen again, however we are not guaranteed its survival. We can only hope it was not recaptured along the shore where multiple unmonitored fishermen await.
At Fire Island conservation we are dedicated to creating awareness and helping these animals escape the threat of extinction . That is exactly why we share stories like this one that look deeper into the root of the problem to find a sustainable solution.
What is causing this problem?
The main reason that turtles are being captured (amongst other sea life) is necessity. These