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Accidentally caught endangered Hawksbill sea turtle released in Ilocos Norte shoreline

PAGUDPUD, Ilocos Norte – An accidentally caught Hawksbill sea turtle was released back to the shoreline in Ayoyo Cove, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte on Wednesday.

An endangered Hawksbill specie of sea turtle was accidentally caught in the net of local fishermen on Tuesday night.

Lead fisherman Jimmy Villa, Sr. reported their unintended catch to North Luzon Renewables and to the barangay officials of Caparispisan.

Proper documentation, tagging, and the subsequent release of the sea turtle was done by a group composed of representatives from North Luzon Renewables, the local government unit of Pagudpud, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Pagudpud station of the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, and Bureau of Fire Protection.

Villa’s group composed of Jimmy Villa Jr., Jomar Villa, Jerwin Villa, and Arnel Genova have previously reported similar incidents. The group turned over two green sea turtles which were released by local officials on April 16 and May 3, respectively.
The caught endangered sea turtle, named with Covido and with tag number 1318 J Ph, was identified as an adult male Hawksbill Sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) weighing about 45 kilos.

Its hard upper shell called ‘carapace’ has a length of 75 centimeters and a width of 45 centimeters.

It was reported that an adult Hawksbills weigh between 45 and 70 kilograms, with their shells growing to an average length of 75 centimeters. These turtles avoid open waters and prefer to inhabit the coastlines, coral reefs, and lagoons. They linger where sponges are abundant, and in the proximity of nesting sites.
“We are delighted how local residents here have discovered the value of protecting biodiversity,” said Gabby Mejia, the president of North Luzon Renewables.

“By creating awareness on coastal environment protection and turtle conservation, they have become stewards of AC Energy’s Conservation Estate, protecting the turtles of Pagudpud and Bangui and creating opportunities for the community through eco-tourism,” said Mejia.

Pawikan conservation is part of the initiative of North Luzon Renewables and NorthWind Power in empowering the local residents to protect terrestrial and marine ecosystems under AC Energy’s Conservation Estate program.

The project includes searching of turtle eggs and securing the nests until hatchlings find their way safely back to the sea.

The Philippine Aquatic Wildlife Rescue and Response Manual Series published by the Marine Wild Fauna Watch of the Philippines, Inc. identifies seven species of marine turtles in the world. Six of these species are found in Southeast Asia, and five of which can be found in the Philippines.

Three of these species can be found in Ilocos Norte namely: Green Sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill Sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), and Olive Ridley Sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea).


By Manila Bulletin: