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Shrimp boats killing sea turtles in Guatemala

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 13:29

Guatemala City: Sea turtle deaths have been rising on Guatemala`s Pacific coast due to "indiscriminate" shrimp fishing, environmentalists said.

At least 80 dead sea turtles have been found on Pacific beaches in the past two months, the Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Association, or Arcas, said in a statement.

The sea turtle deaths "coincide with the presence of shrimp boats in the waters off these beaches", the environmental group said.

Arcas is a non-governmental environmental organization that promotes projects to protect endangered species in Guatemala.

"It has been fully documented that the practice of fishing with dragnets is a threat to marine turtles" and likely the "main cause" of the deaths, Arcas said.

The majority of the dead animals were olive Ridley sea turtles (lepidochelys olivacea), Pacific green sea turtles (chelonia mydas agazzisi) and leatherbacks (dermochelys coriacea), all of which are endangered.

"These species are a valuable living resource both as a tourist attraction and as a source of income" for residents who collect eggs and hand over part of the catch to community nests, the environmental group said.

The cause of the turtle deaths will be investigated, agriculture ministry officials told the press.


First Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 13:29
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