SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/22 April) — A local fisherman released back to the sea on Sunday afternoon a marine turtle and a baby reef shark that he accidentally caught in his net on Saturday.
Pamocino Florino, 55, of Barangay Danawan said his heart was filled with joy when he along with dozens of villagers set the two sea creatures free.
The villagers cheered and clapped as the sea turtle crawled back to the water.
Florino said he felt so elated by what he did.
He added it was not the first time he caught a sea turtle and a baby reef shark. He recalled that back in 1998 he often caught these creatures.
He said that aside from being illegal, he could not stand the sight of a turtle being killed because it would shed tears.
Florino said he caught the sea turtle on Saturday morning and the baby shark in the afternoon of the same day.
Minutes after the release, a school of fish whooshed several meters from where the creatures were freed.
The excited villagers rushed to the scene to catch the fish.
Flory O. Comendador, village chief of Danawan said that some fishermen in his village don’t mind the importance of endangered species such as those caught by Florino.
Comendador said he hopes that young fishermen in their barangay would follow Florino’s example.
Local divers were happy over the news.
Aris Servillas, a member of Surigao Dive Club said this is part of the awareness that should be imparted to everyone.
He said the fact that fishermen belong to one of the poorest sectors in the country does not necessarily mean they will abuse the marine resources.
He commended Florino for his act of saving endangered marine species.
The turtle belongs to the endangered Olive Ridley or Pacific Ridley species, which inhabits the Antilles, around the north coast of South America, in West Africa, the Indian Ocean, Australia and Southeast Asia.
“There are also many important nesting and feeding grounds on the east Pacific coast from as far north as Canada to as far south as southern Peru,” according to information posted on the website of the World Wildlife Fund.
“Once slaughtered in their hundreds of thousands for meat and leather, Olive ridleys have yet to recover from centuries of over-exploitation. While the species has a wide range, the number of important breeding sites is very restricted, so efforts to protect their major beaches are vital,” the WWF added. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)