One of the turtles sustained minor injuries and has been left in the care of the state’s forest department.
A group of fishermen Friday released Olive Ridley turtles after they accidentally got caught in their fishing nets, which were laid along the shores of Benaulim beach in Goa.
While four of the turtles were immediately released back into the sea, one has been left in the care of the state’s Forest Department as it sustained minor injuries.
Pele Fernandes and his five-member team were fishing near the beach this afternoon, when they spotted a turtle entangled in their nets. “Initially we saw only one turtle, but when we swam towards it to rescue it, we were amazed to see five caught in the net,” he told indianexpress.com. “The water was very rough, but we somehow managed to bring them back to the shore,” he added.
The fishermen cut the turtles free using sickles and knives, before returning them to the waters of the Arabian Sea. The injured turtle was taken to the forest department’s headquarters in Margao, “where it will be treated for the next three-four days”, Fernandes said.
This was not the first turtle rescue Fernandes has undertaken in his 30-years as a fisherman. “Including the ones I saved today, I’ve rescued a total of 18 turtles,” he revealed. “It’s only a few honest guys like me who actually put them back in the water. Most people end up selling the turtles that get washed ashore, which can fetch them up to Rs 10,000,” be said.
Olive Ridley turtles are considered a vulnerable species since their population has been on the decline in recent years. In a bid to protect the sea turtles, stretches of the beach at Morjim and Mandrem in North Goa as well as in Agonda and Galjibag in South Goa have been reserved as turtle nesting sites by the state’s Forest Department.