Around 300 turtles were found dead off the coast of Oaxaca today after they became trapped in fishing nets, state authorities reported.
Oaxaca Civil Protection services said that the olive ridley sea turtles were located in the Pacific Ocean three miles from Barra de Colotepec, a beach community near Puerto Escondido.
After receiving an anonymous tip, authorities and volunteers launched an operation to free the entangled reptiles from what are believed to be nets belonging to a tuna vessel, but all of the turtles had died by the time they arrived.
Judging by their state of decomposition, it is probable that the turtles had been dead for at least eight days.
Fisherman Antonio Mendoza ruled out any possibility that the net that trapped the turtles belonged to a local, and at least one media report said it might have belonged to a foreign fishing vessel.
The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) said via Twitter that it had received a report of the turtles’ deaths and was initiating an investigation to identify those responsible.
The olive ridley turtle, known in Mexico as tortuga golfina, arrive in their thousands on Mexican Pacific coast beaches every year to lay eggs.
Last week, federal authorities arrested five men after a routine inspection on the Huatulco-Salina Cruz highway revealed they were carrying 30,000 olive ridley sea turtle eggs.