Turtle Poaching, Maldives
Turtle Poaching Case 2023
Keyodhoo, Baa Atoll, Maldives
- 1978 – Maldivian Parliament passed Bill 24/78 prohibiting the catching of hawksbill turtles less than 61cm carapace length, and all other turtles less than 76cm.
- 1979 – Parliament passed Bill 31/79 prohibiting the export of raw hawksbill turtle shells (however, export of items made from processed hawksbill turtle shells were permitted).
- 1980 – Ministry of Fisheries banned the sale and display of turtles below the size limits specified in the 1978 Bill 24/78.
- 1982 – Globally, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) as “Endangered“.
- 1995 – Under Presidential Decree, killing, fishing and harvesting of all species of turtles is banned for 10 years (replaced 1979 Bill 31/79).
- 1995 – Exports of all species of turtles are banned by the Ministry of Trade. Imports of turtles/products into the country are also banned.
- 1996 – Ban on sale of turtles/products in the country.
- 2006 – Ministry of Fisheries renewed the moratorium on turtle killing and harvesting for a further 10 years.
- 2006 – Sea turtle egg harvesting was banned from 14 hotspots in the Maldives (turtle egg consumption was allowed on other islands, and meat consumption was still allowed).
- 2010 – Maldives signs Convention on Migratory Species (IOSEA) agreement for turtle protection.
- 2013 – Maldives signs CITIES agreement banning turtle trade.
- 2015 – MRC helps to establish a North Indian Ocean Marine Turtle Task Force (NIO-MTTF) [Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives].
- 2016 – Sea turtles are fully protected under s 4(a) of the Maldives Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (4/1993) through the Regulation on Protected Species (RPS) 2021/R-25 which came into force on 17 February 2021.
- Section 18 of the RPS: harming protected turtles carries the fine of between MVR 30,000 (~USD 1950) to MVR 50,000 (~USD 3250).
- 2022 – Green Sea Turtles were included in the Maldives National Red List (April 2022), categorised as “Endangered“.
- 2023 – 7 poachers from Baa Atoll (Maldives) committed the crime of killing 6 green turtles in Baa Atoll Keyodhoo (on 23 January 2023).
Other sources :
– @mohamedseeneen on X, 10 October 2023
– Sea Turtle Conservation, Maldives Underwater Initiative
– Olive Ridley Project
– Widespread ‘secret’ slaughter of endangered sea turtles despite ban; “very tasty” say killers, Minivan News, 31 March 2013
2022 – 24 cases related to sea turtles were reported to the EPA; source: EPA Annual Report, pg.101
April 2022, Conservationists rescue 5 turtles in Laamu Atoll before poachers were able to slaughter them, as reported by Isha Afeef, A successful rescue mission saves five green sea turtles, Olive Ridley Project. Given the scale of the problem and the weaknesses of the regulatory, protection and law enforcement regime by state authorities and the resource limitations for protection, missions such as these conducted by civil society organisations are critical for conservation in Maldives
March 2023, two large turtle carcasses were found on the beach at Laamu Atoll Gan, as reported by Anaan Bushry, EPA investigates slaughtered turtles on L. Gan beach, The Edition, and Naizak Mohamed, EPA probes poaching of turtles in L. Gan, Sun.mv.