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‘Commandos’ rescue over 154,000 turtles, collect 19t of marine waste

10 Jun 2024 ‘Commandos’ rescue over 154,000 turtles, collect 19t of marine waste By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – Environment Authority (EA) concluded the third edition of its ‘Turtle Commando’ programme, dedicated to the protection of sea turtles, on Monday. 

At the conclusion, an announcement of the launch of the fourth edition of the programme was made under the patronage of H E Yaqoub bin Khalfan al Busaidi, Undersecretary for Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources.

This year’s programme saw the enthusiastic participation of over 410 volunteers from both within and outside the sultanate. Together, they conducted 35,054 awareness campaigns and programmes, shedding light on the significance of sea turtles and disseminating information on the laws and regulations governing the Masirah Island and Ras al Hadd Turtle Reserve.

On the occasion, Dr Abdullah bin Ali al Amri, Chairman of EA, commended Oman’s notable environmental progress on the global stage, attributing this achievement to the collaborative efforts of public, private and civil society sectors, alongside concerned citizens.

During the third campaign, a total of 17 tonnes of plastic waste bags and nets were cleared from the beaches of Masirah Island and Ras al Hadd. 

Additionally, 68 large nesting sea turtles and 88,216 small turtles were rescued. 

The programme also ventured into eco-tourism initiatives at the turtle reserve, participating in various events and exhibitions to raise awareness on turtle protection.

Over the past three years, the programme has garnered participation of 1,073 individuals, who have collectively guided and educated 84,719 visitors to the reserve. Notably, 154,048 lost small turtles and 240 large turtles were rescued during this period, alongside the collection of approximately 19 tonnes of nets and marine waste.

The programme’s efforts extend beyond conservation, involving the local community through employment opportunities and eco-tourism activities organised on official holidays. The successful implementation of the largest cleaning campaign on Masirah Island, engaging over 250 volunteers, stands as a testament to its impact and reach.

In its third edition, the Turtle Commando programme spanned six months, with volunteers from across Oman helping to monitor turtles, educate visitors, deter violators, and conduct light-free campaigns, thereby fostering a unique and enriching experience for all involved.

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