By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY—The Department Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is appealing to fishermen in Central Visayas not to catch marine turtles which are considered endangered.
Shelumiel Purisima, wildlife enforcement officer of DENR in the region, made the call after the DENR released a 40-year-old sea turtle Friday in Lapu-Lapu City.
“The turtle was found by divers and was turned over to us,” Purisima said.
Last Thursday, department personnel found a dead green sea turtle in Cordova town.
“Marine turtles are breathing reptiles. It was possible that when it tried to go up to breathe, it got strangled in a fishing net and drowned,” said Purisima.
The country is home to five species of marine turtles. One of them is considered critically endangered while the other four are endangered.
“They can live up to 100 years and they play a huge role in biodiversity,” said Purisima.
Marine sea turtles thrive in Lapu-Lapu waters because of its vast sea grasses, the DENR officer said.
Last Saturday, three fishermen were arrested after they were caught caching marine turtles.
“Fishermen should avoid catching marine turtles because the DENR 7 has intensified its intelligence monitoring,” said Purisima.
Killing, possessing and trading of marine turtles are prohibited under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.