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Releasing 14 Sea Turtles into the Sea of Jeju

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Hit 153 File

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF; Minister Seong-Hyeok MOON) announces that an event to release 14 sea turtles, a globally endangered species, will be held at Jungmun Saekdal beach of the Jeju island on August 28, 2019. Those species all artificially proliferated or were rescued & recovered.
 
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) warns of the risk that sea turtles on the globe are endangered as losing their spawning grounds resulting from exploitation of coastal development and environmental degradation. In particular, the international awareness of the creature’s conservation has been raised by the recently shocking news on such as a sea turtle with a long-plastic straw stuck in its nostril; and a dead turtle with plastic bags & debris in the guts. 

 

The international society has redoubled its efforts to protect the species by habitat surveys, artificial spawning and release events. The U.S has particularly promoted its sea turtle conservation rule banning import of the seafood harvested with commercial fishing techniques that may adversely affect sea turtles. 


MOF has designated 4 species of sea turtles shown on the Korean seas as marine protected creatures since 2012 to strictly prohibit them from being caught or distributed. Also, the Ministry has implemented multiple schemes like rescuing & treating the species trapped in fishing gears and recovering its population by artificial spawning. Those efforts yielded some good results. An attempt at artificial spawning of green sea turtles succeeded in 2017 for the first time in Korea to release 85 turtles into the seas of Jeju working with the Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM) and Hanwha Aqua Planet Yeosu. In 2018, hawksbill sea turtles artificially laid their eggs some of which are being reared with special care. 


Meanwhile, the place for release, Jungmun Saekdal beach of Jeju, is evidently suitable for the habitat of sea turtle offering low potential risk of bycatch with less fishing nets; abundant prey; and easy move to the Pacific Ocean where the warm temperature remains. 


The event will greatly be attended by Minister MOON and officials from Jeju-do, KOEM, the National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea, Korea National Maritime Museum & Hanwha Aqua Planet, along with local residents. 


The Minister states that “This releasing event is an achievement from interest and support of the relevant institutes involved in rescue, treatment and research for population recovery; and of the public wishing for restoration of the species. I look forward to meeting the turtles someday spawning in the sea of Jeju returning from the vast oceans where they will go soon by this event”. 

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