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Illegal fishing detrimental to species, sea turtle concern

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — Illegal fishing by locals during the night hours has become detrimental to some species while endangering nesting sea turtles.

Nets have been found again along the beaches of Xcalacoco in the city’s north end from fishermen who set them during the night. In the morning, they retrieve the nets, pulling from them only the species they want, discarding the others by leaving them netted on the beach.

These illegal nets are being set during sea turtle season, something that poses a risk.

Orquídea Trejo Buendía, Director of Environment, said that they have verified the nets but have yet to find those responsible. This practice of illegal fishing is detrimental to the discarded fish that are seen to have no commercial value, however, they are extremely important in the natural food chain in the marine ecosystem.

Hugo Uribe Nicolás, director of the Federal Maritime Zone (Zofemat) also noted they have verified the illegal fishing practices, but have not caught the fishermen who are setting them.

In August, a group of fishermen were caught with illegal nets only a few meters from turtle nesting sites, another concern for state environmental officials.

During the last Protection of the Sea Turtle committee session, a lodging center at Xcalacoco noted that this illegal netting is also detrimental to the sea turtles, saying they had found dead ones.