Turtles returned to sea
Thursday, June 29, 2017
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) released 10 green turtles and one hawksbill turtle seized in an earlier enforcement action in the southern waters of Hong Kong today (June 29).
The 10 green turtles and the hawksbill turtle are among the 35 green turtles and one hawksbill turtle seized from a fish raft in Sok Kwu Wan Fish Culture Zone on September 30, 2016. The turtles were assessed by veterinarians at Ocean Park Hong Kong (OPHK) and have been under constant monitoring and veterinary care.
An AFCD spokesman said, "The 10 green turtles and the hawksbill turtle weighed from 11.5 kilograms to 61kg and measured about 45 centimetres to 82cm in carapace length. All of them were assessed by veterinarians of OPHK as being in good condition and ready to be returned to the sea. The other green turtles were already released in November 2016. The department is thankful to OPHK for making special arrangement to accommodate the sea turtles and the veterinarians and staff for taking care of them."
Before the turtles were released to the sea, the AFCD tagged each of them with a microchip and Inconel tags for future identification. Satellite transmitters were also attached to the carapaces of the turtles. By tracking the movement and feeding grounds of green turtles in the sea, the AFCD can collect data for formulating appropriate conservation measures and share its findings with other conservation authorities for the better conservation of sea turtles. Satellite tracking revealed that the some of the turtles released in November 2016 headed south to the South China Sea via different routes, reaching Wanshan Archipelago, Dongsha, Nansha and Xisha Islands, Hainan Island and as far as Malaysia.
The green turtle and the hawksbill turtle are globally endangered and critically endangered species respectively. In Hong Kong, all sea turtle species are protected under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap 170) and the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap 586). Of the five sea turtle species found in Hong Kong waters, the hawksbill turtle is relatively rare and the green turtle is to date the only species known to nest locally.
Members of the public are urged to report any sighting of sea turtles to the AFCD via 1823.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department today (June 29) released 10 green turtles and one hawksbill turtle in the southern waters of Hong Kong. Photo shows the hawksbill turtle being returned to the sea.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department today (June 29) released 10 green turtles and one hawksbill turtle in the southern waters of Hong Kong. Photo shows a green turtle being released to the sea.