At least 300 dead sea turtles floating off Mexican coast
PHOTOS have emerged showing at least 300 dead sea turtles floating in ocean off Mexico's coastline.
Mexican officials are working to free the turtles from tuna boat nets along the Oaxacan coast, in the country's south, in the hope some may still be alive.
But the government believes about 300 turtles died when they were caught in the nets from boats launched at the Colotepec bar.
They are believed to be the species olive ridley, also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle.
Se confirma la muerte de tortugas en Costas de Barra de Colotepec que habrían quedado atrapadas en redes de barcos atuneros, @PROFEPA_Mx investigará el tema #Oaxaca @alejandromurat @Heliodoro_hcde pic.twitter.com/mNIkBV4cH6— ProtecciónCivilOax (@CEPCO_GobOax) August 28, 2018
The State Coordination of Civil Protection is working to free the turtles and authorities were investigating.
It will work with other agencies to tow, move and bury the turtles on the beach, in an area prepared for this purpose.
They fear the situation could "generate more damage to the marine fauna" if they do not remove and bury the animals.
A statement from San Pedro Mixtepec council said they were "in the best disposition to help to take precautionary measures to avoid further loss of species in danger of extinction".
Tortugas Mexico, desgracia. pic.twitter.com/ikFMeFoKIH— Pancho Membrillo 💚 (@PanchoMembrillo) August 28, 2018
Agency spokesman Agueda Robles said only one turtle has been rescued alive, according to Mexican news agency 24-horas.
He indicated the government would apply sanctions to the tuna boat owners that caused the death of the animals.
But the local municipality's fishing director Lupe López Osorio ruled out the turtle deaths as intentional, suggesting they were entangled with a net that was abandoned in the sea.
It comes a week after 113 turtles were found dead between July 24 and August 13 in the Puerto Arista sanctuary in Chiapas state.
In a statement, the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection said the dead comprised 102 olive ridley turtles, six hawksbill, and five belonged to the green turtle species.
The dead turtles were discovered in different parts of the sanctuary across 30km of beaches.
All three turtle types are classified under Mexican guidelines as being at risk of extinction.
The hawksbill is the most critically endangered of the three, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The cause is still being investigated, though experts have suggested asphyxiation, fish hooks or harmful algae could be behind the deaths.