The Environmental Society of Oman (ESO) has also released a statement in response to the pictures of dead turtles at Ras al Jinz and commended Muscat Daily for raising the important issue.
In an interview with a local Arabic radio station, Eng Shukaili, who is the head of biodiversity at MECA, said while some turtles died of natural causes others from human activities. Some are also burnt by the ministry after they are found to have a disease.
Eng Shukaili said the ministry decides to leave the turtles in the sun for a period in order for the bodies to decompose. He said the area for keeping the dead turtles is designed to be separated from the beach where tourists frequent.
The ESO statement reads: “Thank you for raising this important issue. Marine turtles in Oman suffer [from] numerous threats from human activities. Entanglements in fishing nets is a major one, both in the open waters and in the shores.
“ESO has addressed this complex issue by holding community outreach awareness raising activities in various areas of the sultanate, but much more needs to be done, and the voice of citizens matters. Close coordination with officials is also held on the illegal fishing and killing of marine turtles.”
Eng Shukaili also said illegal harvesting was not one of the main causes for the dead turtles, and that instances of such illegal harvesting have reduced over the years due to increased awareness.