A Southern beach in Japan had a horrifying scene the previous month. The whole beach was covered with around 30 or so endangered turtles, all bleeding from their stab wounds.
Locals discovered the green sea turtles on the brink of death on Kumejima Island beaches in the southern prefecture of Okinawa. Most of the turtles were already dead and had been found near fishing nets when staff from the local Sea Turtle Museum arrived to help them.
Although police are yet to confirm the incident, the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reported that a local fisherman stabbed the animal after it became stuck in his nets. They have confirmed this fact from interviews.
Almost all of sea turtles are grouped as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.
Japan itself considers green sea turtles endangered. Animal rights groups have taken conservation actions in Okinawa (prefecture where they often lay eggs) and Kagoshima. The environmentalists help protect nesting beaches by keeping an eye on them and helping to return the animals to the ocean if necessary. It is no longer a popular tradition to eat turtles.
According to Yuji Tabata (president of Kumejima Fishery Cooperative Association), however, some fishermen have been troubled by increased sea turtles this season.
He mentions that there have been a few incidences where turtles collided with fishing boats and got trapped in the nets due to the increased number recently. The green sea turtles are also devouring the supply of local seaweed breed mozuku, and due to their sheer adult size of above 300 pounds, they could cause an uproar when under threat.
However, he believes that whenever a turtle ends up in the net, stabbing them should certainly not be an option.
He said, “When a turtle has been caught, you should try to untangle it, and if that fails, you can cut the nets and release them.” Stabbing that amount of turtles should not be acceptable at all, and this situation was not handled properly.
Although the police cannot confirm how many sea turtles died, the Sea Turtle Museum in nearby Tokyo reported that the museum returned one carcass to determine the cause of death, reports NHK.
Source: Vice World News