We are deeply saddened to share the tragic news that a hawksbill turtle was found entangled in a large discarded fishing net which had drifted onto a local dive site at Koh Phra Thong. 2 of Blue Guru's instructors, Daniel & Richard, valiantly tried to free the turtle, which was completely entangled in the net. Sadly the turtle drowned & died before they could bring it to the surface to breathe.
Not everyone is aware that turtles have lungs & breathe air. Normally Hawksbills come up to breathe air approximately every 56 minutes; Olive Ridleys every 28-40 minutes; Leatherbacks every 5-20 minutes; and Green turtles every 9-23 minutes. A stressed turtle entangled in fishing kit uses up oxygen more rapidly and can drown within minutes. Getting entangled in a fishing net is therefore life-threatening for all species of turtles.
The above 4 species of turtle all nest on Koh Phra Thong’s beaches and are at particular threat from local longtail fishing boats and countless Thai & Burmese fishing vessels out every day & night in the North Andaman Sea.
Discarded fishing nets, string, plastic bags, glass bottles, polystyrene floats & food containers are thrown overboard from fishing boats on a daily basis and wash up on Koh Phra Thong’s shores. Sadly this debris can also wash onto our local reefs causing damage to coral reefs and even death of marine life, as this recent event illustrates.
Blue Guru is monitoring the number of fishing boats seen on every dive & snorkel session conducted this season as part of our Ocean Action Project. We aim to build a persuasive argument for the implementation of conservation measures to keep fishing boats & their nets away from local & offshore reefs.
Sadly any measures implemented will be too late to save this particular turtle. However, we hope its death will not be in vain and that it will prove to be a shocking & compelling influence for positive conservation action to protect other turtles, sharks & rays from the same fate.