Memorial for the Dead Sea Turtles


About 150 school students, teachers, Sea Turtle Protection Force (STPF) members of TREE Foundation, members and Volunteers gathered together to pay homage to all the dead turtles along the coast. A huge sand model of an Olive Ridley sea turtle was built at Neelankarai beach, close to where many dead turtles had stranded in the past years. The homage was to commemorate the 824 dead turtles that got killed in trawl boats on 22nd February, 2014 at Penna Estuary, Nellore- where TREE Foundation is also involved in a community- based conservation program, jointly working with the Forest department- and the 1000 turtles that died along the Vellar estuary in Cuddalore the same year in March. The cause of death was inferred by the AD, Fisheries and the DFO of Nellore to be due to drowning in the 40 odd trawl boats with Tamil Nadu registrations, that were fishing 2.5 kms from the shore near the estuary in violation to the Marine Fisheries regulation act. The trawl boats have to be fishing only beyond 5 kms in Tamil Nadu and 8 kms in Andhra Pradesh.The major threat to sea turtles are from trawl fishing boats, gill nets and nets set to catch ray fish and guitar fish. The fisheries department needs to take action to enforce regulations to protect sea turtles. In memory of all the dead turtles and the turtles that have died during this turtle season (between Neelankarai and Alambarai), a few well-wishers recited their poems on the plight of sea turtles, during the memorial. Dr. Supraja Dharini mentioned to all those present and some beach goers that while we remember all the dead turtles, thousands of people will be praying for the turtles between 10.00 to 10.30 this morning in schools, IT Companies, media houses and industries all over the world. All of TREE Foundation’s Sea Turtle Protection Force members working in sea turtle conservation: along the Kanchipuram coast in Tamil Nadu, Sullurpeta, Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam coasts in Andhra Pradesh and Berhampur Coast in Odisha made sand models of sea turtles and paid their homage to the turtles along with friends and community members. G. Elumalai, senior Sea Turtle Protection Force member, said, “We only hope that more enforcement is in place to reduce the unnecessary deaths of sea turtles and hope more people know about the wonderful role that sea turtles play in the marine ecosystem.”This year along the Kachipuram Coast we have protected around 164 nest. We have also recorded and buried nearly 112 dead Olive Ridly sea turtle. Based on the injuries sustained by the dead turtles it has been confirmed by the STPF members that the injuries has been due to fisheries interaction.


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