A rare turtle weighing over 150 kilograms was found dead after being stuck in a fishing net off Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island on Tuesday afternoon.
Local fisherman Ho Ngoc Hay and his crew members were operating in the maritime area near Phu Quoc Island off the southern province of Kien Giang on their fishing boat when they discovered a large turtle caught in their net.
The fishers attempted to set the aquatic creature free but soon realized it had already died.
As it was the first time they had spotted the strange-looking turtle, the fishermen decided to carry it ashore and hand it over to the border guard office on Phu Quoc the same day.
Ha The Phong, director of the management board of the Phu Quoc Marine Protected Area, confirmed on Wednesday that the turtle had been transferred to the agency.
The animal was a leatherback sea turtle, whose scientific name is Dermochelys coriacea, and weighed more than 150 kilograms, Phong continued.
Leatherback is the largest species of sea turtle and is on the verge of extinction, he elaborated.
The body of the animal has been frozen while the marine protected area waits for further directions from higher authorities.
According to an official of the agency, there is a small hole on the back limb of the turtle, indicating that it had possibly been rescued by authorities in the past and a chip might have been planted on it.
The Institute of Oceanography in Nha Trang City, located in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, has suggested that the turtle be brought to the facility for preservation and educational purposes.
Statistics show that Kien Giang has about 10,500 fishing boats, more than any other province and city in the country.
Among them, at least 2,000 boats are equipped with high-capacity engines and large nets to catch fish from the surface to the bottom of the sea.
This practice is considered destructive to marine environments.