A rare turtle of an endangered species stuck in a net in the central province of Quang Nam was rescued and sent back to the sea on Wednesday.
Two fishermen in the province spotted the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) around five nauticals miles from the shore on Tuesday. It was trapped in a discarded fishing net that someone had dumped into the sea.
The turtle weighing 5.5 kilograms was then brought to local authorities. It was released the next morning.
Human fishing has reduced the population of the species and driven it to the brink of extinction. The World Conservation Union classifies the hawksbill as critically endangered while the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species outlaws the capture and trade of hawksbill sea turtles and products derived from them.
It’s estimated that only one in 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings will survive to adulthood.
Quang Nam’s agriculture officials said sea turtles have become rarer in the area.
Tran Quang Kien, an official in charge of marine resources protection, said there used to be a lot of sea turtles laying eggs on local beaches, but they have almost disappeared the past 10 years.
The hawksbill released on Wednesday was the first ever spotted in the province in years, Kien said. "It's very lucky that the locals know they should protect it."