[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] More turtle nesting sites. (The Star, Malaysia)


Saturday June 25, 2011

"More turtle nesting sites"

MALACCA: The state Fisheries Department has proposed 16 turtle-nesting spots in the state be gazetted as sanctuaries to ensure the survival of the hawksbill population.

Department director Rosmawati Ghazali said the proposal to gazette these spots was submitted to the state government a few months ago.

"We are waiting for the response from the state government on our proposal to have these sites conserved as hawksbill landing spots," she said told reporters during a midnight trip to Pulau Upeh to watch turtles nesting here on Tuesday.

Pulau Upeh is currently the only gazetted turtle sanctuary in Malacca.

Rosmawati said declaring the sites as turtle sanctuaries was crucial to ensuring the species continues to come to Malacca.

She said Pulau Upeh was touted as the largest nesting congregation in South East Asia for hawksbill turtles."Therefore, we have to be more committed to ensure the survival of the nesting population of hawksbills in Malacca,

"The key is ensuring proper management as well as responsible tourism with minimal impact,"she said.

Rosmawati added that protecting Malacca's coastline would result in better nesting and hatching rates.

She said some 2,005 turtles landed at the 17 sites here and a total of 238,548 eggs were laid between 2006 and 2010.

Of this number, 56,825 eggs were laid in Pulau Upeh, 39,300 in Padang Kemunting and 38,731 in Kem Terendak.

Rosmawati noted the hatching rate of these eggs stood at 60% while the survival rate of hatchlings was 1:1,000.

She said among the factors that affected the population of hawksbills in Malacca were poaching, environmental damage to landing spots and pollution.

Rosmawati said the department had taken several measures to protect turtles such as using licensed egg-collectors who are paid a substantial sum for eggs surrendered to the department.

The eggs are also incubated at the turtle hatchery in Padang Kemunting.

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