MELAKA: A total of 102 Hawksbill baby turtles were released in Padang Kemunting in Masjid Tanah today, after being hatched at the Turtle Conservation and Information Centre here.
State Agriculture and Entrepreneurial Development committee chairman Datuk Hasan Abdul Rahman said Padang Kemunting has the highest number of nestings in Melaka.
"This centre is now well known for turtle nesting and hatching ground, where it has brought about uniqueness to the state itself.
"So now we have increased our workforce and improved our system to monitor these turtles, by hiring more people to keep an eye on their nesting grounds," he said after officiating the Hawksbill Turtle Release Programme in conjunction with the state-level National Fishermen Pre-Wave 2017 programme.
Last year, a total of 16,067 hatchlings were released to sea with the numbers increased to 25,835 hatchlings from January till August this year.
"We must cooperate and try our level best to preserve these turtle, where it can not only attract tourists, but also researchers and turtle enthusiasts.
"To help the Melaka Fisheries Department, I will be including this matter in the upcoming state budget meeting," he said.
The state Fisheries Department director Johari Tim said turtles helped to increase the number of fishes by eating their predators such as the jellyfish.
“This will in turn benefit the fishermen as they can get more catch.
"Turtles which lay eggs here are tagged and monitored by our staff. We want the baby turtles to get imprinted in this beach so they will return to nest here in the future as well," he said.
From the year of 1999 till August 2017, a total of 1,060,889 eggs were collected and 559,789 baby turtles were released in Melaka.