Several fishermen in Fujian accidentally caught a gorgeous sea turtle in their fishing net last week, rather than sell it for big bucks, they returned the beautiful creature back to the sea.
NetEase reports that Li Awei and his friends went fishing near their village as usual last Monday. As Li was trying to pull up his net, he found it was too heavy, and had to ask his friends to come over and help. It turned out that a huge sea turtle had accidentally got caught in the net.
Li told reporters that the beautiful sea turtle — 107 cm long, 73 cm wide and 67.5kg in weight — quickly made him the most sought after man in town. Some of his fellow villagers even offered him as much as 10,000 yuan for the turtle.
However, Li rejected all offers. Locals believe that seeing such a big sea turtle is auspicious, rather than risk misfortune to turn a quick profit, Li and his friends agreed to return the creature back to the sea.
The local Bureau of Ocean and Fisheries identified the turtle as a Olive Ridley sea turtle, which is listed as a second-class nationally-protected marine animal, so probably a good thing he didn’t sell it.
While getting rich is glorious, many in China also believe in releasing living things to earn some extra moral credit. According to the Chinese intellectual Lin Yutang, fish are released to pray for enlightenment, while turtles are released to pray for longevity. We assume this means that Li is gunning to be the world’s oldest man down the line.
In recent years, this tradition has taken a somewhat unscrupulous turn, with businesses opening up to assist customers in “releasing life” by illegally breeding animals. Even worse, sometimes these animals are released back to their homes, only to be scooped up by opportunistic fishermen just a little farther downstream.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via China News / NetEase]