Activists in the north have called on Turkish Cypriot authorities to up checks on fishermen after eight sea turtles were found dead last week, five of which drowned when they got trapped in fishing nets, reports said on Tuesday.
According to Turkish Cypriot news portal Kibris, the society for the protection of turtles called on professional and amateur fishermen to leave their nets in the water for not more than four hours to prevent the drowning of sea turtles if caught in them.
The group said that many amateur and professional fishermen drop their nets into the water in the afternoon and collect them in the morning. This causes the death of many turtles, it added.
It reported that six Caretta Caretta and two green sea turtles were found dead on shores of Trikomo and Bogazi, last week, five of which drowned.
But what is more worrying, they said, is that three turtles were found in the Bogazi-Gastria area this week with their throats cut intentionally.
It added that so far this year 139 turtles have been found dead. They either washed ashore or were caught in fishing nets.
The group said that hundreds of turtles die every year as a result of being caught in fishing nets, with most deaths occurring between May and June, when fishing activity increases as turtles arrive in the north of the island from other countries to lay their eggs.
They called on fishermen to observe the regulations regarding how many metres from the shore they are allowed to throw their nets but also on authorities to intensify checks to make sure there are no irregularities.
Kibris newspaper also published an article on sea pollution reporting that oil leaks from tankers arriving in the north or sailing near the island pollute the marine environment with consequences to both the fish and the human population.
The paper quotes head of the Green Action Group Dogan Sahir, saying that there have been oil leaks and accidents several times during the transfer of oil to the AKSA power plant in Gastria in the north, resulting in pollution in the area. While several years have passed, he said, the area has not yet been cleaned, the paper reported.