Turtle nesting season begins in Qatar

Turtles at Fuwairat Beach. Credit: Ren Wiasiuk

Qatar’s environment ministry is asking residents to steer clear of the nation’s northeastern shores as turtle nesting season begins.

Every year, from April to August, endangered Hawksbill turtles return to the exact same spot that they were born, or have previously nested, to lay their eggs.

To help facilitate their breeding and nesting, the popular Fuwairat beach is closed off to the public during this time.

The beach is located in northern Qatar near Ras Laffan, and is is completely fenced off to the public during nesting season.

The move is to protect turtles from practices that can prevent them from nesting or burying their eggs, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) said.

This includes loud noises, harsh lights, and people touching the eggs, as well as turtles falling into fishing nets.

Beach conditions

Last August, the MME called the efforts a big success. It said a larger number of nests were established on Qatar’s shores than ever before.

But some environmental researchers in Qatar are continuing to lobby for a year-round closure of Fuwairat beach.

Turtles at Fuwairat Beach. Credit: Ren Wiasiuk

They said this would help “rejuvenate” the sand and create better nesting conditions.

This would also put an end to activities that would scare the turtles away, like the noise of driving and campfires that cause debris.

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