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18 July, 2019
 
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Fishermen catch and release rare turtle

Leatherback released unscathed in the north, jellyfish raise alarm in the south

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A giant turtle in search of food was caught accidently in fishing nets off Karpas Peninsula, while local authorities in the south went on high alert over a giant swarm of jellyfish.

According to Turkish Cypriot media, a leatherback sea turtle was caught in the nets of a local fisherman off Ronnas Bay, just north of Karpas on Saturday, making it the first ever leatherback to be spotted and recorded in the area.

Although leatherbacks do not nest in the Mediterranean, they are known to wander the oceans from Spain to Israel in search of jellyfish, with local reports saying leatherbacks had been previously spotted in the south as well. The one spotted off Karpas weighed up to 750 kilos and measured over two metres long, according to SPOT, a Society for the Protection Of Turtles.

SPOT, which posted a video of the turtle on Facebook, said the turtle was unharmed and released safely after fishermen were able to untie the sea-dwelling reptile from the float lines. 

Jellyfish scooped up in the south

In a related story, officials in the south went on high alert over the holiday weekend in an effort to remove jellyfish from beaches in the Protaras area. Jellyfish are known to be on the menu when it comes to sea turtles, with reports of the gelatinous creatures in the eastern parts of the Republic of Cyprus making headlines last week.

Experts say the jellyfish phenomenon is not just an inconvenience for swimmers but also a sign of human impact destabilizing marine ecosystems

Paralimni mayor Theodoros Pirillis telling the Cyprus News Agency on Monday that local beaches have been cleared of both jellyfish and their excrement. Pirillis said that affected beaches that have been cleaned included Nissi Beach and Fig Tree Bay, as well as Agia Triada, Kappari, Skoutarospilioi, Vrasoudia, Nisia, and Lombardi. 

In other parts of the Mediterranean, some tourist spots are reportedly having to ban bathing due to plagues of dangerous jellyfish, which are are known for eating and pooping out of the same orifice. But experts say the jellyfish phenomenon is not just an inconvenience for swimmers but also a sign of human impact destabilizing marine ecosystems.

It was not clear whether jellyfish were seeking refuge or a place to thrive. Experts say the jellyfish phenomenon is spreading across the Mediterranean Sea while scientists do not have a full grasp on determining patterns of distribution. 

Additional marine-theme videos made headlines over the holiday weekend, with whales in the north and dolphins in the south drawing a lot of attention on social media.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  sea  |  turtle  |  leatherback  |  whale  |  dolphin  |  jellyfish  |  Greek  |  Turkish  |  Cypriot  |  Protaras  |  Karpas  |  fishing  |  fisherman  |  marine  |  Mediterranean  |  climate change

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