Environmentalists in Qatar want the two-kilometre-long stretch along Fuwairit beach to be declared as a permanent turtle nesting and hatching area, keeping away the tourists from sea turtles. A proposal was submitted to the MME by some environmentalists along with a few students regarding the same.
A study on marine turtles of Qatar, conducted by a researcher said, “Fuwairit beach is the most-preferred nesting and hatching site of turtles. Though the site is fenced to allow turtles to hatch eggs for three months from April, the increasing number of tourists to the area pose a threat.”
“Small sand dunes, which were once common at Fuwairit, have almost been destroyed by tourists’ vehicles. Therefore, it is imperative for us to take measures to protect turtle hatching sites and the area,” he stressed.
The study which began in 2002 by the authorities in association with QU and Qatar Petroleum identified four north eastern beaches ” Fuwairit, Al Ghariya, Ras Laffan and Al Maroona ” and four islands ” Halul, Sherawoo, Ras Rakkan and Umtais ” as turtle nesting sites.
“A recent study has revealed that the number of turtles arriving for nesting and hatching in these areas has declined during the weekends (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) owing to the presence of a large number of visitors,” explained a QU researcher.
“As a permanent solution to the problem, we propose that the area be declared a ‘marine turtle zone’. In the meantime, we are planning a collective effort in association with government agencies, environmentalists and private firms to protect the sites throughout the year,” the researcher added.
Marine turtles is vital for ecosystem as they help in maintaining healthy seagrass beds and coral reefs which provides nursery for ocean’s fish species.
“The data on the Google map showing the gradual disappearance of greenery along the costal belt of the northern area because of human interference is another alarming indication that the beach site must be protected throughout the year,” said another researcher.