KUALA TERENGGANU, April 4 (Bernama) — The use of prawn trawlers has been identified as one of the main causes of turtle extinction not only in Malaysia but in other countries around the world.
This has forced shrimp importing countries, such as the United States, to issue regulations requiring prawn exporting countries to ensure fishermen install the turtle excluder (TED) device, which releases turtles trapped in trawlers, Fisheries Department director-general Datuk Ahamad Sabki Mahmood said.
“Without the device, prawns that are caught cannot be exported into the United States.
“The regulation referred to is the U.S Shrimp Import Embargo which was enforced in 1996,” he told reporters after launching the Turtle and Turtle Excluder Device Workshop here Monday.
His speech text was delivered by Fisheries Department Resource Management and Licensing Division director Gulamsarwar Jan Mohammad.
Ahamad Sabki said the TEDs, costing RM400 a unit, had already been in use in Sabah.
He hoped that the fishing community in the peninsula can use it to help prevent turtle extinction.
He said other threats to turtles include unplanned development activities at turtle landing areas, pollution, erosion, beach embankment, turtle egg trading and destructive fishing methods.
Turtle conservation and management efforts in Malaysia has been carried out since 1960, especially in states which have turtle landings such as Terengganu, Pahang, Johor, Melaka, Perak and Penang, he said.
He added that work carried out by the Fisheries Department from 2000 to 2010 resulted in a total of three million turtle eggs hatched and 1.9 million baby turtles released into its natural habitat.