Turtles are the best friends of fishermen in the sea like the earthworms for farmers. Turtles play an important role in keeping jelly fish population in check, as it is their favourite food. Jellyfish prey on fishlings and by keeping jelly fish population under control turtles help fishermen get a good catch. Apart from natural calamities changing their course, these docile creatures face threats from humans, birds and animals.
Stray dogs and birds like kites and eagles feast on turtle eggs and hatchlings before they safely reach the sea. They are also hunted for meat and their eggs too consumed. Activists and department personnel said that such incidents have come down drastically of late due to awareness. There are also incidents of turtles accidentally getting caught in fishermen’s nets after which their legs are cut off to save the net. But this coasts their life.
Forest department personnel said that about four years ago the high court came out with guidelines for mechanised boats and trawlers to avoid fishing within five nautical miles off the shore during the turtle besting season, as they could accidentally kill the turtles. Forest department and conservators said that repeated awareness resulted in a drop in fishermen killing or hurting these seasonal visitors.