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Three leatherback turtles found dead on Matura

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Kyle Mitchell, of Nature Seekers, photographs the carcass of one of the three leatherback turtles that washed ashore on Matura Beach on Monday. The group is currently investigating the cause of the deaths. Photo: Abraham Diaz

Caught in a fisherman’s net, three leatherback turtles never made it alive to T&T’s shores to nest.

On Sunday afternoon, Nature Seekers conservationists found one dead turtle washed up on Matura Beach.

Then, on Monday they discovered two more turtles dead on the beach.

Dennis Sammy, managing director of Nature Seekers, told T&T Guardian that it was not unusual to find three dead turtles on the beach. Typically more turtles wash up during the nesting season, but because of the seaweed hindering the fishermen from going out to sea, many turtles were spared, he said.

Work must be done to improve the turtles’ hatching rate and decrease the death rate, he said. 

Sammy made it clear that fishermen going out to sea were not at fault for accidental deaths of the turtles, but he said there must be a way to improve the conservation of the turtles in the sea. 

Terry Rondon, chairman of the Toco/Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, is calling for the fishermen to retire their nets, but first they must be adequately compensated.

He said there are millions of dollars being invested in turtle conservation but none for the fishermen who need to go to sea for their livelihood. 

“It is sad. I think a lot of money is being pumped into turtles and the fishermen are being left out. The fishermen cannot stay here. They should be compensated for their nets and then, and only then, if they are found fishing in the seas, then they should be charged,” Rondon said.