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Sea Turtles, Returning to the Blue Water of Jeju Sea!

Date. 2020. 9.14.
Hit. 174

- Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries releases 18 sea turtles artificially incubated, rescued and treated to natural habitat in Jeju Sea -

  Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF, Minister Moon Seong-hyeok) has announced that it will release 18 sea turtles* incubated artificially in Korea and recovered after rescue back to their natural habitat on September 11th (Friday) in Jungmun Saekdal Beach in Jeju.

 * 16 artificially incubated sea turtles (8 hawksbill sea turtles, 8 green sea turtles), 2 rescued and treated sea turtles (1 green sea turtle, 1 loggerhead sea turtle)

  Jungmun Saekdal Beach, the sea turtle release site, is an area where the sea turtles have been found to spawn several times* in the past. The areas around Saekdal Beach are known to be a good habitat of sea turtles as there are few fishing nets and is less risk of being caught, and it is rich in food and easy to move to the warm Pacific Ocean.

  * 1999, 2002, 2004, and 2007 (The last spawning was observed in Korea)

  According to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the sea turtles are endangered and protected internationally as their spawning grounds have decreased due to coastal development and environmental pollution. In particular, hawksbill sea turtles with colorful backplate patterns have been traded as expensive jewelry from the past, resulting in a sharp decline in their populations and a more serious threat of extinction.

   In response, MOF has designated 4 species of sea turtles* appearing in the seas of Korea as marine protected species since 2012, and strictly prohibited the capture or commercial trade of them. In addition, MOF has been trying to rescue and treat sea turtles caught in fishing gear and to restore species through artificial incubation and also has released a total of 88 artificially hatched green sea turtles to the seas around Jeju in cooperation with Korea Marine Environment Management corporation and Aqua planet Yeosu since 2017.

  * Green sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle

  The two rescued and treated sea turtles that will be released this time have been rescued at the coast of Gujwa-eup, Jeju last year, and recovered their health after receiving treatment in the Aqua Planet Jeju water tank. In addition, 8 green sea turtles and 8 hawksbill sea turtles are the first ones in Korea that have been artificially spawned in 2017 and 2018 and have had their natural adaptability increased through the growth process for 2 to 3 years. Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries plans to attach artificial satellite tracking devices allowing them to track the location of the three green sea turtles, to identify their movement paths and use the data for ecological research for sea turtle conservation purposes.

  Lee Jae-yeong, the director of MOF Marine Ecology Division, said “I look forward to seeing 18 sea turtles roam the wide ocean in a healthy condition and return to Jeju to spawn.” He added, “We will continue our efforts for the rescue, treatment, proliferation researches and release of marine protected species including the sea turtles.”