300 endangered sea turtles found dead off Mexican coast
More than 300 olive ridley sea turtles were found dead and floating off a Mexican coast after getting tangled in a fishing net.
The turtles had been caught in what is called a “ghost net,” a fishing net that got lost and was never recovered by its owner. Ghost nets tend to float randomly in the ocean, trapping all kinds of marine life. The trapped animals then attract larger sea creatures looking for a free meal and which are in turn entangled by the net, reports National Geographic.
The more than than 300 turtles were discovered off the coast of Mexico’s Oaxaca state. Their shells had cracked after getting dried out under the sun for more than a week.
The Mexican federal agency for environmental protection announced the news on Aug. 28, just days after 113 sea turtles washed up on the shore of Mexico’s Chiapas state.
“To catch that many turtles means it was probably fishing on its own for a good while, based on the level of decomposition evident in many of the animals,” said marine biologist Bryan Wallace.
While the olive ridley species of sea turtles is only classified as threatened as per the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the population in Mexico’s waters fall under the endangered category. Yet, despite the circumstances, olive ridleys are much better off than other turtles. They are still the most abundant species in the region.
Nonetheless, the incident brought to light the continued threat of ghost nets and other pollutants that circulate the ocean and endanger marine life. Alfred Bayle /ra