Published Date: 2007-02-07 15:00:01
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Die-off, sea turtles, dolphins - Bangladesh
Archive Number: 20070207.0480
DIE-OFF, SEA TURTLES, DOLPHINS - BANGLADESH
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 6 Feb 2007 17:15:34 -0800 (PST)
From: Dan Silver <email@example.com>
Source: Reuters [edited]
Fishermen blamed for spate of turtle deaths
Nearly 1000 large turtles have washed up dead on Bangladeshi and
Indian beaches in the Bay of Bengal in recent weeks, officials and
activists said on Monday [5 Feb 2007], blaming the deaths on fishing
nets. About 200 turtles, some weighing 20 kg or more, have been found
along the Bangladesh coast in the past week. Around 140 turtles were
found dead along a 4 km stretch of beach near the southern tourist
town of Cox's Bazar, said Mohammad Aminul Islam, deputy commissioner
of Cox's Bazar district. More turtles were dying on the shores of St
Martin Island, 35 km off the country's southeastern tip, Teknaf.
Islam said he believed the turtles died after being caught in fishing nets.
In eastern India, wildlife activists said dead turtles were also
dotting beaches there in large numbers. "We counted 763 of them in
the last 2 months, all dead after getting caught in fishing nets,"
Biswajit Mohanty, wildlife activist and coordinator of Operation
Kachchappa (turtles), an Orissa-based group, told reporters. "They
had bulging eyes and necks, which indicate they died due to a lack of
oxygen after getting dragged underwater in fishing nets for hours,"
Mohanty said. The group surveyed a 200 km stretch of coastline in
Orissa, near Paradip, a major Indian port.
Bangladeshi fishermen, who have also reported that some dolphins have
died, deny they are to blame, saying they don't catch many turtles,
but when they do they are returned alive to the water.
Marine officials said the deaths could be due to increased pollution
or unknown natural causes.
Bangladesh has a 90-km natural beach from Cox's Bazar to Teknaf --
said to be the longest in the world -- that is poorly maintained and monitored.
[Dead sea turtles have also been seen on the beaches of the Gulf of
Mexico with similar reasons cited. This sudden increase in reported
numbers of turtles dying off in the Bay of Bengal could be the result
of increased awareness or a change in local fishing habits and/or
equipment. It is tragically normal and not indicative of some unseen
toxic event as one might postulate when learning of a mass die-off. - Mod. MHJ]
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