Vietnam strengthens protection of rare sea turtles hinh anh 1Green sea turtle (Photo: ENV)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Rare Vietnamese marine turtles are critically threatened due to illegal hunting, despite the animals having the highest level of legal protection.

Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), green turtles (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricate) and loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) are all in danger, with the hawksbill the most severely depleted species, according to the Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV). 

Despite playing a crucial role in the ecological system, the number of hawksbill turtles has fallen by up to 80 percent mainly because of illegal hunting to take their shells to create handicrafts like jewellery. 

Green sea turtles face a similar situation, with only one out of 1,000 have a chance to survive to adulthood.

Statistics from ENV showed that on average, about 150,000 young green turtles return to the ocean each year. The number of mature ones is estimated at a mere 150 annually.

According to a study conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, only about 10 green sea turtles give birth in beaches in Quang Ninh and Quang Binh provinces yearly. This species has not appeared in Son Tra peninsula in Da Nang city since 2015.

Given the situation, a representative from the ENV said it is necessary to better execute legal regulations to protect rare marine turtles.

The prosecution of illegal traders and carriers of sea turtles and their eggs is one effective means to prevent violations.

At the same time, it is essential to raise public awareness of the protection of sea turtles.
Vietnam strengthens protection of rare sea turtles hinh anh 2A large volume of sea turtles were arrested to make artworks at a facility in Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa province (Photo: ENV)

Under the amended and supplemented Penal Code 2015, hunting, catching, killing, rearing, caging, transporting and trading sea turtles and parts of their bodies is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison.

In September 2017, Con Dao became the first locality nationwide to launch criminal proceedings in a case involving turtle eggs.

In June 2018, the People’s Court of Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa province, gave four years and six months imprisonment sentence to Hoang Tuan Hai on charges of illegal collection and trade of more than 10 tonnes of sea turtles. The case was uncovered in late 2014 with the largest volume of sea turtles seized in the world.-VNA