Archipelago

Padang combats illegal
turtle egg trade

The city administration of Padang, West Sumatra, is striving to fight against the popular trade of endangered sea turtle eggs by cooperating with the police and the Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA).

The head of Padang Maritime Resources and Fishery Office, Zalbadri, said on Friday that the fight was badly needed because the number of turtle eggs traded in the city was thought to have reached 20,000 last year.

He said that the turtle egg trade violated Law No. 5/1990 on natural resources conservation and Government Regulation No. 7/1999 on the preservation of flora and fauna. It also violated Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), he said.

He explained that his team discovered that nearly 45 percent of the turtle egg supplies came from Pesisir Selatan regency, with the remainder coming from Pariaman City, Pasaman regency and Mentawai regency.

According to Zalbadri, the turtle egg trade had already become part of daily life along Padang Beach. During the holiday season, turtle egg sellers flocked to the area to serve visitors.

Zalbadri admitted it was not easy to stop the cycle of turtle egg trading because it had become a major part of local people’s livelihoods.

“It will take time to socialize this issue, otherwise it will hurt the community economy,” he said as quoted by Antara news agency.

One alternative, he said, was to encourage turtle egg vendors to find other work, including assisting in the development of turtle conservation tourism at nearby Air Manis Beach. (rkh)

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