Residents of Qatar can once again enjoy the beautiful northern Fuwairit beach after being closed for Hawksbill turtles nesting season.
Each year, Qatar’s popular Fuwairit beach is closed off to the public for four months to protect the areas’ endangered Hawksbill turtles. The Hawksbill nesting season started in April and will end as of August 1, when an estimate of 3,000 turtles are expected to have hatched and made their way into the sea.
Despite having a widespread population, the Hawksbill sea turtles are classified as critically endangered and need attentive care and protection while setting up nests to hide their eggs in.
The Hawksbill are not only a very fragile and vulnerable species, but have also been prosecuted by profit-oriented people who steal their eggs and shells to sell them on the blackmarket.
In the past, loud noises and strong lights used to scare off turtles crawling ashore to find a safe spot for their unborn, while others got trapped into fishing nets. The lights and noises used to also disorient newborns, who depend on the reflection of moonlight on the waters to navigate their way into sea, and led them to lose their way.
What makes Fuwairit beach so important to this process lies in the very specific way these turtles lay their eggs. Hawksbill turtles usually head back to the exact same spot they were born in or have previously nested to lay their eggs.
Fuwairit beach accommodates approximately 30% of all sea turtle nests in Qatar, and has so far offered the best protection to turtle eggs than anywhere else in the country.
Located some 80 kilometers north of Doha, the beach is known for its beautiful sandy beaches, and is also a great bird-watching site.