The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) has started a campaign to release as many as 110,000 turtle hatchlings into the sea over a period of three months in Ras al Hadd in South Sharqiyah.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Asim bin Ali Humaid al Araimi, head of Awareness and Media section at the Department of Environment and Climate Affairs in South Sharqiyah, said, “The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs launched the campaign to release turtle hatchlings into the sea in the period from September 22 to December 21.”
The campaign is an annual event, said Araimi, adding that the first one was done in 2013. October-January is the period turtle eggs hatch, he said.
“In 2013, we released about 64,095 turtles into the sea and 59,183 in 2014, 60,468 in 2017 and over 60,000 turtles in 2018. We are aiming to release more than 110,000 turtles this year. We have already released 39,380 turtles so far.”
The campaign aims to involve the local community in protecting the marine environment, protecting turtle hatchlings and returning them to the sea and instilling this culture in the hearts of young people. The campaign is attended by school students, civil and volunteer teams and some people interested in social and environmental work.
Powerful lights on the beach pose a major threat to the nesting of turtles. Fishing gear also puts turtles in danger while they also have to survive predator fish and birds.
“We are cooperating with a number of government and private agencies. We offered each student who collected 10 turtles 100bz. Each student could get about RO3 per day. We urge residents in the area and fishermen to preserve turtles as they are a tourist attraction.”