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Fisherman arrested for attempting to sell green turtles

Fisherman arrested for attempting to sell green turtles

The Kupang Police have arrested Melomen, 69, a fisherman of Batubau in East Nusa Tenggara for allegedly trying to sell seven green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), which is forbidden under the law.

The police’s crimes investigation unit head First Insp. Simson Amalo, said the fisherman was arrested while transporting the turtles on a pick-up truck.

« The perpetrator has been named a suspect and was promptly arrested, » said Simson, adding that both the turtles and the vehicle had been seized as evidence.

He said the suspect was being charged under Articles 40 and 21 of Law No 5/1990 on conservation of natural resources.

According to Simson, green turtles were frequently hunted for their carapace to be turned into expensive wall decorations.

He also said the perpetrator intended to sell the turtles for Rp 500,000 to Rp 1 million each depending on the size.

« We have released the seven turtles in Lasiana beach after coordinating with East Nusa Tenggara Natural Resource Conservation Agency [BKSDA NTT], » he said.

(Read also: Protected green turtles traded, eaten in Sumba)

BKSDA NTT official Dadang Suryana confirmed that those that had been seized were a protected species.

Dadang also mentioned the sea turtles that are officially protected include green turtles (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridley turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), flatback turtles (Natator depressus) and loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta).

Rampant hunting of the animals and their eggs as well as the destruction of their habitat, which is often polluted by oil spills and plastic waste, continue to cause the number of turtles to plunge. (wit)