A national ban on turtle egg sales and consumption needed
WWF-Malaysia Executive Director/CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma, is reiterating this call in relation to the issue of government officials being served turtle eggs during a dinner function recently (Pictures of Ismail Sabri served turtle eggs rile up conservationists, NST, 4 November 2015).
Dato’ Dr Sharma stresses, “Turtle egg sales and consumption need to stop immediately. Marine turtles are endangered and we cannot allow threats from human actions to continue.”
In Peninsular Malaysia states, turtle protection laws are inadequate. Under the Federal Constitution, each respective state has the authority in making its own laws on turtles. State laws vary from each state and are inadequate in combating human practices of consuming turtle eggs.
Only Sabah and Sarawak have legislation that totally protects marine turtles under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 (Sabah) and the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998 (Sarawak). The Malaysian Government needs to quickly standardise legislation on ban of turtle egg consumption and trade. A national ban will ensure full protection of all marine turtle species throughout Malaysia.
“It is very disheartening to find that turtle eggs were served in Sandakan, where Sabah’s state legislation lists all marine turtles as totally protected animals. Our government officials and leaders should set the example by not only refusing to eat but also condemning the sale of turtle eggs,” says Dato’ Dr Sharma.
There is already a recommendation for a national ban on turtle eggs trade and consumption, which is part of five key recommendations for turtle protection in Malaysia. These recommendations were developed as a result of a workshop to review the Sea Turtle Malaysia National Plan of Action organised by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and United Nations Environment Programme in September 2015, and were submitted to the Office of the Science Advisor, Prime Minister’s Office. For full recommendations from the Sea Turtle Seminar and Workshop, visit the IOSEA Marine Turtle Website (http://goo.gl/hrNkU5).
WWF-Malaysia commends the Sabah Wildlife Department’s prompt launch of an investigation into the restaurant serving the turtle eggs. Prosecution of any wrong-doing under Section 41 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 will a send clear and strong message to future offenders. Turtle eggs poaching remains a challenge as evidenced by recurring cases of eggs being smuggled into Sabah and confiscated by the authorities.
WWF-Malaysia strongly calls for the law on turtle egg sales and consumption to be amended nationally, and for additional resources and enforcement on the ground to better protect and manage key nesting and feeding habitats of green and hawksbill turtles before they become functionally extinct, as in the case of leatherbacks in Terengganu.
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For further information:
Angela Lim, Communications and Campaigns Manager, Marine Programme, WWF-Malaysia,
Tel: +60 3 7450 3773, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org