Ministry condemns killing and exploitation of sea turtles


22-April-2013

Despite a total ban on turtle exploitation and commercial trade of any turtle products, sea turtles are still being killed today. The continuous hard work and commitment to the cause has recently resulted in the conviction of a woman from Capucins, Anse Aux Pins on charges of illegal possession of turtle meat and a fine of R5000 was imposed by the court.

1.5 kg of salted turtle meat was confiscated at her residence after a search by police officers and personnel from the Ministry of Environment and Energy.
We hope this will send a strong message to those few individuals who are still conducting these unacceptable acts, that we will not give up and will continuously intensify efforts to protect our sea turtles.

Photo of the confiscated meat

Presently in the granitic islands Green turtle nesting has virtually ceased as a result of over-exploitation in the last century. Today most Green turtles nest in the coralline islands. Hawksbills still nest in the granitics in reasonable numbers as a result of continuous ongoing policing and monitoring programmes. Various nesting habitats are now protected, such as Cousin, Aride, St. Anne, Curieuse. There are also privately owned islands and many non-government organisations such as Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles (MCSS), Island Conservation Society (ICS), Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) and Nature Seychelles that are assisting in the protection of sea turtles.

If left undisturbed, an adult female hawksbill can be expected to lay some 30 to 40 egg clutches in her lifetime (3 to 5 egg clutches per season, at 2-3 years interval, over a period of 20 years). Instead, most adult female Hawksbills in Seychelles are unlikely to lay more than a few egg clutches prior to being slaughtered.

Continuous killing of nesting females, especially around the granitics can result in serious decline if not extinction in the near future. This is because the population is being destroyed from the “bottom up” since few offsprings are produced when females are killed before they lay eggs.

Although Seychelles hosts some of the largest nesting population of Hawksbill remaining in the world today, they are seriously threatened with extinction.
We are however hopeful for the future as public response today is very good towards the protection of sea turtles, and this has been evident through the number of green line calls we receive from the general public. This shows that most Seychellois are aware of the need and importance of protecting sea turtles and they are willing to assist the ministry in the fight to save these magnificent creatures of the sea.
 

Contributed by the Conservation Section of the Ministry of Environment and Energy

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