Seized turtle meat destroyed |21 December 2022
The Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment together with the Seychelles Police have destroyed the 117kg of sea turtle meat which was seized onboard the fishing boat Pelican on November 5, 2022.
The sea turtle meat, which was in the possession of the police and packed in large unmarked plastic bags, was burnt yesterday morning in the incinerator at the Seychelles Hospital in the presence of Minister Flavien Joubert, staff of the environment department and two officers from the police who escorted it.
It is one of the biggest seizures of sea turtle meat for this year.
Some of the meat were frozen and others unfrozen.
The 117kg of fresh and salted meat was found onboard a boat that was arrested in the vicinity of Alphonse Island in a joint operation mounted by the Seychelles Coast Guard and the Marine Police. There were three men when the boat was arrested but only the boat's owner, Etienne Quilindo from Cascade and Joachim Nourrice have been charged with possession of the meat. They have been released on court conditions which included a fine of R8,000 each, a sum of R100,000 each by two persons as guarantees and the surrender of their passports. They are expected to appear in court on January 13, 2023
Sea turtles are protected under the Wild Animals and Birds Protection Act, under which the Wild Animals (Turtles) Regulations enacted in 1994. It completely bans all disturbances, harvest, sale, possession of turtles and turtle products including the eggs to which the penalty is up to two years in prison or a fine of R5,000 to R500,000, or both, depending on the gravity of the offence.
Speaking to the press, the senior conservation officer from the department of Environment, Kevin Moumou, said that the ministry is taking the matter very seriously given the amount of turtle meat found which represents quite a number of the creatures that have been killed which is an offence.
“We are following up on this case very closely because it is a lot of meat,” Mr Moumou said.
Mr Moumou said the reason for destroying the meat is that they were beginning to rot as there is not enough space to conveniently store them.
He added that they sought for a court order which was approved for the meat to be destroyed given that they have been catalogued for evidence.
He stated they have also encountered some poaching and attempted poaching of sea turtles during the year and some suspects are being investigated.
He added that the most recent poaching incident occurred at Ile Soleil but sadly the turtle died. He said that people are attempting to poach sea turtles at this time of the year because they know it’s their nesting season.
He called on people doing this sort of activity to stop because they will face prosecution in the event of being caught.