Turtle preservation and conservation measures implemented by the Terengganu government in collaboration with the Terengganu State Fisheries Department have successfully increased the population of the reptiles.

Terengganu state deputy secretary (development) Datuk Tun Ahmad Faisal Tun Abd Razak said the number of turtles that landed in 2022 had increased significantly, when 10,019 nests were recorded compared to 7,614 in 2021.

He said this involved the ‘agar’ and ‘tuntung laut’ species which lay their eggs at 52 landing sites, mostly located in the districts of Dungun and Kemaman.

“The maturation period of the turtles to grow and return to land to lay eggs takes a long time, about 20 to 25 years,” he told reporters after the Cakna Penyu programme yesterday.

Tun Ahmad Faisal, who is also the state Economic Planning Unit (EPU) director said the state government spends more than RM600,000 annually on the turtle conservation programme, which has become the state’s icon.

He said the effort was also supported by the Federal government through the state Fisheries Department, which allocated nearly RM200,000 every year for the rehabilitation and improvement of sanctuaries at three sites, namely the Ma Daerah Turtle Sanctuary in Kertih, Mak Kepit on Redang Island and the Geliga Conservation Centre in Kemaman.

According to him, the turtle conservation programme is not only important for the balance of the marine ecosystem and natural heritage, but also contributes to the education-based tourism sector (edutourism) in Terengganu.

Tun Ahmad Faisal said the state government would further strengthen the edutourism sector by offering tourists the opportunity to experience the release of baby turtles at Teluk Mak Nik Beach, also known as Monica Bay.

“We have been conducting this programme (turtle release) at the Ma Daerah Turtle Sanctuary, which comes with an overnight stay package. It has received a positive response from school children, students from colleges (IPT) and the private sector.

“Teluk Mak Nik beach is the highest turtle landing site in Terengganu and is located on the outskirts of the city. Therefore, it is very suitable to be used as a new tourism product, especially in the Kemaman district,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency