Turkish sea turtle protection against fireworks

This video says about itself:

Because fisheries bycatch off the Baja California peninsula is currently the greatest documented threat to the critically endangered North Pacific loggerhead turtle, the future of this ocean- and culture-connecting migratory species is primarily in the hands of Mexican fishers. Ironically, it is difficult for many of Baja California’s halibut and shark fishers to understand that loggerhead turtles are endangered because they can catch up to twelve turtles in a single day.

In Caguamas Del Pacifico: ¿En Quienes Manos? Baja California fishers present the fascinating transpacific migration of the loggerhead turtle featuring hands-on deployment of satellite tags, rare underwater turtle footage, stunning Baja California scenery, and galvanizing turtle rodeo action sequences. Fishers share the staggering turtle mortality they encounter on a daily basis, and for the first time, propose alternative fishing strategies.

Caguamas Del Pacifico: ¿En Quienes Manos? documents a landmark: Baja California fishers “owning” the fisheries bycatch problem and proposing practical ecological solutions to protect the loggerhead turtle, pan-Pacific multicultural symbol of wisdom and endurance.

For more information see:


By Jennifer Hattam, Istanbul, Turkey:

Turkish Town Bans Fireworks to Save Sea Turtles

Especially during the summer months, the sound of fireworks is part of the evening soundtrack in Turkey, where pyrotechnics are often used to celebrate weddings, football victories, and official ceremonies alike. But a municipality on the country’s Mediterranean coast has put the kibosh on such festivities, saying they can fatally frighten endangered sea turtles.

This week, the Kızılot municipality in Antalya’s Manavgat district announced that it would ban fireworks during the summer season, when loggerhead sea turtles are breeding along the area’s seven-kilometer beach, the Anatolia News Agency reported.

Loggerheads in the Mediterranean mate from late March to early June, with the female nesting season reaching its peak in June and July, depending on the nesting beach. Their tiny hatchlings‘ subsequent trek to the sea has already been a subject of debate in many resort areas, since hotel lights and other artificial illumination can lead them astray. The fireworks add a new wrinkle to the problem.

Fireworks Scare Turtles, Mayor Says

“When loud noise is added to the lights, the turtles’ fear increases 10 times,” Kızılot Mayor Mustafa Keçer said. “Since the fireworks scare the turtles, the hotels in the region will not be allowed to use fireworks during the tourist season.”

Though some visitors may balk at the ban, sea turtles are generally a tourism draw wherever they hatch. Further west along the Turkish coast, the popular Dalyan Beach has been a “flagship beach” for the conservation of marine turtles since 1987, when the animals’ local champions prevented the development of a large resort hotel that would have destroyed turtle nesting sites.

Loggerhead’s Fatal Collision With Boat Propeller

But the death of an adult female loggerhead, the victim of a collision with a boat propeller last fall in Fethiye, another favorite Mediterranean destination, sparked discussion about whether Turkey’s efforts to protect the animals are sufficient.

“[Turtles] are used for everything from the name of a bar to a plastic-turtle keychain to the design on a T-shirt. This is no less than exploitation,” marine-management specialist Ismail Nalbantoğlu told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review at the time. “Everyone wants to benefit from their popularity with tourists, but no one is prepared to do what is needed to protect them.”

Added Meryem Tekin of the Underwater Research Society: “It is really important that the authorities start thinking about how to decrease or contain sea-turtle deaths. Propeller guards and no-go zones near nesting beaches for motor boats are just two ideas that should be discussed.”

Balloons Are No Solution

In addition to boats, fishing lines, fishing hooks, and plastic bags can all kill or injure sea turtles — a fact that makes Kızılot’s otherwise praiseworthy proposal seem lacking in basic understanding of how to protect the animals. As an alternative to fireworks, you see, Mayor Keçer “proposed that hoteliers organize balloon shows instead.”

A reader of the newspaper where his remarks were published was quick on the draw, adding this comment to the online version of the story:

“This is an excellent move to protect these highly endangered animals. But PLEASE do not substitute fireworks for balloons. When the balloons are released, they drift for miles until they fall into the ocean. Turtles eat the balloons thinking they are jellyfish. Then their intestinal system becomes clogged up and the animal dies from starvation.”

Scientists have uncovered how hatchling loggerhead turtles make their first steps across sand as they travel from their nests towards the sea: here.

Loggerhead turtle breeding affected by global warming: here.

ScienceDaily (Feb. 26, 2010) — Spanish scientists have studied interactions between the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and fishing gear such as longline hooks used at the water surface, mass beachings, and the effects of climate change on these animals. In order to reduce captures of this marine species without causing economic losses for fishermen, the scientists are proposing that fishing in the summer should only be carried out by night and in areas more than 35 nautical miles from land: here.

Sea Turtle Hatchlings Are Sure-Footed on Sand: here.

Restricting fishing time and zones will save many Mediterranean loggerhead turtles: here.

3 thoughts on “Turkish sea turtle protection against fireworks

  1. Pingback: Omani turtles, workers hurt by privatisation | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Costa Rica leatherback turtle beach threatened | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Loggerhead turtle nests discovered in Pakistan | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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