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VICTIM NO.1 : SEA TURTLE

When we think about turtles, multiple species of sea turtles comes to mind. From Leatherback to Hawksbill, every sea turtle varies in size, weight, behavior and are unique in their own way. India’s coastal waters and beaches provide foraging and nesting sites for five species of sea turtles which are known to inhabit Indian coastal waters and islands. The most abundant of all the sea turtles, Olive Ridley, arrive in large numbers on the Indian coasts for nesting and breeding all the while calling it their home.

Olive Ridleys are solitary creatures that come together only during mating season. The Olive Ridleys come from Sri Lanka as adults to lay their eggs in the same place they were once born near the shores of Gahirmatha, Rushikulya and Devi in Odisha, stretching from West Bengal to Andhra Pradesh, and on the western coasts as well. This spectacular and rather unique nesting phenomenon is called Arribada, Spanish for Arrival. And for these turtles, it is indeed homecoming

Olive ridleys, categorized as a vulnerable species by IUCN have been facing several threats from the fishing activities. Even though fishing has been banned during their breeding season, bycatch has been a fatal threat for a long time. But a major concern in their fight for survival has been tons of ghost nets floating in the open seas.

Ghost nets are commercial fishing nets that have been lost, abandoned, or discarded at sea which are responsible for trapping and killing millions of marine animals including sharks, rays, turtles, dolphins, whales and corals. Entanglement in ghost nets can lead to exhaustion, suffocation, starvation, amputations of limbs, and eventually the death of a marine animal. Every year because of gill-nets and trawl-nets thousands of sea turtles get injured and killed. 70% of ghost nets entanglement of turtles happens during Arribada and 77% of turtles stuck in ghost nets are juveniles mistaking nets for algae.

In the past 5 years, divers have manually removed 1400 ghost nets and 700 turtles entangled in ghost gear have been rescued from the seas of Maldives. And the shocking thing is that Maldives is not even a breeding ground for these turtles and fishermen in Maldives are prohibited from using fishing nets.

'Tangled Seas' aims to be a film that addresses and creates awareness about the problem of 'ghost nets in as much detail as possible with as many perspectives that we can showcase.


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