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As part of the citizen science initiatives launched on Car Nicobar Island to monitor sea turtle populations, the Nicobarese fishermen from Teetop Village have retrieved a juvenile Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) from ghost fishing nets floating in the coastal waters of Car Nicobar. Lost, abandoned, and discarded fishing nets, popularly known as ghost nets, continue to entangle vulnerable marine fauna such as sea turtles. During their routine fishing practices on the forenoon of 01 April 2024, the fishermen spotted a large mass of ghost fishing net floating in the water, which entangled a live turtle as well as a dead turtle. In a swift act of responsible fishing practices, the fishermen rescued the juvenile sea turtle by cutting the net, and the turtle was swiftly released back into the sea without any external injuries.

As instructed during training and awareness events by the scientific team of the project led by Dr. R. Kiruba Sankar under the guidance of Dr. E.B. Chakurkar, Director, ICAR-CIARI. The fishermen were promptly rescued and shared the video of the incident, covering the entire process of rescue and rerelease back into the sea.

These successful conservation events are part of citizen science initiatives taken up by ICAR- Central Island Agricultural Research Institute in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, focusing on providing proper awareness and education to the tribal fishermen in Car Nicobar towards the protection of sea turtles and minimizing the environmental impact on these vulnerable marine faunal groups.

(Source: ICAR-Central Island Agricultural Research Institute, Port Blair)

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