Nicaraguan wildlife officials are investigating reports that hundreds of dead sea turtles have been washing up on the country’s western coast. The Nicaraguan Sea Turtle Conservation Network has called an emergency summit to discuss the recent reports, which have found an increase in turtle mortality in the nesting areas of La Flor and Chacocente. The group suspects that blast fishing and certain other fishing techniques are to blame, but investigations are ongoing as they work to determine just how many turtles have perished.

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Experts from around Nicaragua gathered at the meeting hosted by Fauna & Flora International, to compare and contrast reports on sea turtle life and statistics in the western Nicaraguan region. Their findings determined that there is in fact an increase in the number of dead turtles, but as locals report “hundreds” of fatalities, officials are still unclear on the total number.

Bodies of olive ridley turtles have been seen, which is alarming as the mass-egg laying phenomenon of arribada is approaching, a critical time when hundreds to thousands of female turtles gather on the nesting beach to lay their eggs. Chacocente is a prime region for turtle arribadas, so the presence of dead turtle bodies is particularly worrying.

Experts are also concerned as other dead animals, including dolphins and marlins, have also been spotted, prompting an investigation of potential illegal fishing in the area.

Via Phys Org

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