MECA work­ing to re­lease 60,000 tur­tle hatch­lings into the sea

Muscat Daily - - NATION -

The Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Af­fairs (MECA) has started a cam­paign to re­lease as many as 60,000 tur­tle hatch­lings into the sea over a pe­riod of three months in Ras al Hadd in South Shar­qiyah.

Speak­ing to Muscat Daily, Eng Salim al Maskari, di­rec­tor gen­eral for En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs in South Shar­qiyah, said, “The Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Af­fairs in co­op­er­a­tion with Oman LNG has launched the cam­paign to re­lease tur­tle hatch- lings into the sea in the pe­riod from mid-Oc­to­ber to Jan­uary.”

The cam­paign is an an­nual event, said Eng Maskari, adding that the first one was done in 2013. Oc­to­ber-Jan­uary is the pe­riod tur­tle eggs hatch, he said.

“In 2014 we re­leased about 50,000 tur­tles into the sea and this year, we are aim­ing to re­lease more than 60,000 tur­tles.”

A team is work­ing daily from 8pm to 11pm and re­lease hun­dreds of baby tur­tles into the sea. In the cam­paign the min­istry is sup­ported by the res­i­dents of the area. “Ras al Hadd is a na­tional reserve, so the min­istry seeks to pro­tect the tur­tles and re­lease them into the sea. They are a na­tional trea­sure.”

Con­struc­tion work close to the beaches is pos­ing a ma­jor threat to the nest­ing of tur­tles. Fish­ing gear also puts tur­tles in dan­ger while they also have to sur­vive preda­tor fish and birds.

“We urge res­i­dents in the area and fish­er­men to pre­serve tur­tles be­cause a lot of vis­i­tors and tourists come to the re­gion, thus con­tribut­ing to the na­tional econ­omy.”

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