Mr.Kongkiet Kittiwantanawong – Head of the Phuket Marine Biological Endangered Species Unit has recently announced “The turtles which have been recently been found wounded on the beaches of Phuket are caused by manmade problems, and these problems are also reducing the number of turtles which come to lay their eggs on the beach. The injured turtles were washed ashore by waves, and a large number of them have had some of their bodies cut by fishing nets. Therefore, we have now started a conservation pilot scheme for a community network to preserve the sea turtle population. Because such a problem cannot be performed by one country alone, it will be jointly carried out in several Asian countries, where many of us share the same ocean.”
The pilot scheme will see Phra Thong Island and Ra Island at Phang Nga as the launch point of the scheme and it is relying on locals help to preserve the sea turtles. The selected islands have suitable conditions for four types of sea turtles to lay their eggs; grass turtles, hawksbill turtles, green turtles and leatherback turtles. Furthermore, the area also had an abundance of sea grass. At present there are only 2 species of sea turtles that lay their eggs on Koh Ra and Koh Phra due to the fact the area does not have a good management system. From statistical data; in 2009 there were 30 nesting turtles, where in 2010 that number had fallen dramatically to just 4 or 5, in 2011 there were only 2 and in 2012 just 3.
Mr.Kongkiet added “If everyone works together to care for and not injure turtles, they will swim back to the original spawning ground every year. About 30 years ago the Andaman Coast saw no less than the 400-500 turtle nests. This has been greatly reduced as in the last 2-3 months we have found about 30, along with 24 injured turtles, and this is not a good sign “.