Monday, 8 October 2012

Endangered Sea Turtle Saved from 'Pirate Fishermen'

Rangers at Cocos Island, a Costa Rican national park in the Pacific Ocean, say they recently found an endangered green sea turtle hooked by fishermen in protected waters. The turtle was released alive, but injured, and conservation officials say the episode highlights the threat of illegal long-line fishing.
"Pirate fishermen are wreaking havoc on sea turtles and sharks of the Pacific, even at this remote 'protected' site, more than 350 miles from the mainland, destroying one the most incredible hotspots of marine biodiversity in the Pacific," biologist Todd Steiner, executive director of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, said in a statement this week.

These "pirate fisherman" are often trying to catch sharks for their fins, which are shipped to Asia to make shark fin soup, a popular delicacy. When the fishermen sneak long-lines (lines that have hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks) inside the protected waters around Cocos Island, they risk unintentionally killing wildlife like turtles, whales, dolphins and seabirds, conservationists say. Park rangers at Cocos Island have accumulated a mountain of confiscated long-lining gear, Steiner said.


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