59th turtle found dead

A leatherback turtle was found dead on September 4 in Portimão.

According to Zoomarine biologist Élio Vicente, this was the 59th turtle found dead along the Algarve coast since January.

The animal, found by the Maritime Police, measured almost two metres in length and weighed more than 300kg.

Lab tests are being carried out to determine the cause of death of the animal.

Élio Vicente said: “We have registered more than 50 dead turtles on our coast so far this year.  In past years, we have had an average of six or seven.”

He added: “The high mortality rate may be associated with the turtles swimming closer to shore and being trapped in fishing nets or hit by boats.”

Meanwhile, experts say that high sea temperatures this summer along the Algarve coast – between 23 and 26 degrees – may have caused a change in the behaviour of some species of marine animals.

The increase in water temperature may also be related to the sighting of sharks in the region’s waters, mostly hammerhead sharks which usually come to the surface in their migratory route.