Adding to all of the recent Hawksbill activity in the Bay of Jiquilisco, an adult Hawksbill sea turtle was found, trapped in a shrimp pond on Saturday, August 11th.
The incident was similar to the incident in early July, when a juvenile Hawksbill was found also trapped in a shrimp pond. Just like the juvenile, this adult Hawksbill had entered the pond during high tide following food and was unable to leave as the tide went down. She was found around 6:30 pm at night by the Santa Rosa Cooperative, a fishing cooperative that EcoViva and the Mangrove Association have been working closely with as they make the transition from blast fishing to sustainable methods, or “pesca limpia.” At 8pm the same night, a crocodile was found in the same pond. The crocodile had also entered during high tide and been trapped.
While the stories of the juvenile and adult Hawksbill mirror each other in circumstances, the response created by this adult Hawksbill was on a completely different scale. After she was found, the President of the cooperative who found her quickly contacted Lina Pohl, the Vice-Minister of the Ministry of the Environment (MARN) here in El Salvador. After all of the recent events including Hawksbills, including the discovery of two dead Hawksbills (one due to blast-fishing) and the Hawksbill festival, it was much easier to mobilize everyone. By early Saturday morning, The Mangrove Association, the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative (ICAPO), the National Civil Police (PNC), the Ministry of the Environment (MARN), La Coordinadora of Puerto Parada, and reporters from at least four separate sources all converged on Puerto Parada.
After numerous pictures and interviews with the Vice Minister Lina Pohl, cooperative members, and staff of both The Mangrove Association and ICAPO, the entire group left Puerto Parada in three boats, to release both the Hawksbill sea turtle and the crocodile. The Hawksbill was released in La Pirraya, the location of the Hawksbill Sea Turtle Festival and the crocodile was released in Puerto Barrillos.
As a culmination of recent events, MARN, The Mangrove Association, and ICAPO will all participate in a meeting on August 30 to discuss both blast fishing and EcoViva’s alternative for sustainable fishing- pesca limpia. With all eyes on the Bay of Jiquilisco, now is the time to act to ensure that fishermen have an economically viable and environmentally sustainable alternative to blast-fishing that protect all of the ecosystems and species in the Bay of Jiquilisco, including the Hawksbill sea turtle.