Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: Cash reward dangled for info on Turtle killer
By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon & Le Phyllis F. Antojado, 2nd December 2017;

A P50,000 cash reward has been dangled by Moalboal Mayor Inocentes Cabaron for anyone who can give information on the whereabouts of the individual who killed an endangered Green Sea Turtle.

“We are offering P50,000 to any person who could give the information leading to the identification and arrest of the person or persons involved,” Cabaron said in a text message to Capitol reporters.

The Turtle’s dead body was found on the shores of Barangay Basdiot in Moalboal town, southern Cebu Wednesday morning. A spear gun, a fishing gear banned in the town, wound was found on the dead Turtle’s neck.

The dead Turtle was turned over to the Provincial Environmental and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) for further investigation. It measured 60 centimeters in length and 30-60 in weight.

Based on initial observation, Romel Kirit, PENRO senior environmental specialist, said the Turtle had been dead for at least a day before it was found by the locals. The PENRO is now coordinating with the local government of Moalboal to trace the culprit/s behind the Turtle’s death.

The Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

Under Republic Act 9147, harming and killing endangered animals, including the pawikan, is punishable by law. Those who kill a Sea Turtle or any wildlife species listed as critically endangered species shall be imprisoned for six to 12 years and is mandated to pay a fine of P100,000 to P1,000,000.

On his Facebook page, Kalle Epp, claimed they found a dead Green Sea Turtle on a coral reef near a resort in Moalboal.

Epp, who expressed outrage over the killing, has appealed to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities in Moalboal.

“The Turtle killed is one of the Green Sea Turtles which are a major tourist attraction, protected by national and local laws. We appeal to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities and senseless slaughtering of protected marine life for sport in Moalboal” reads part of his post. Epp also reported to authorities the alleged increasing number of people, local and foreign, who engage into spear gun hunting.

Lauded

Greenpeace Philippines has lauded the efforts of various sectors in raising the alarm on the “gross killing” of the Sea Turtle in Moalboal, a dive spot in Cebu province known for its rich marine life.

“It is condemnable that some people are trying to kill the very thing that maintains the health of the ocean including the one that brings in additional income to various sector in the municipality,” said Vince Cinches, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace.

He urged the communities to protect the Green Sea Turtles and other wildlife species as they play a critical role in promoting ecological balance and enhancing biological diversity. Cinches urged the local government to come up with clear steps to prevent such “gruesome” incidents in the future by regulating activities in the area, including but not limited to spearfishing and recreational fishing.

Also, restrictions to some activities, including expansion of fishing gear registration, he said.

“We also would like to suggest to and request from the municipality to increase enforcement capacity and to allocate needed resources to inform the public on activities that are allowed in the area,” he said.

To monitor the entire town, he said a multi-stakeholder or sector be constituted to help achieve the objective of protecting the waters of town and the rest of Tañon Strait.

“Moalboal is such an abundant destination both for local and foreign visitors, and hopefully others in the future can enjoy it,” he said.

Tañon Strait is restricted from commercial fishing to protect and conserve marine resources. It is a 161-kilometer strip dividing the provinces of Cebu and Negros Island. The strait is one of the largest and most productive Marine Protected Areas in the country, hosting 63 percent of the country’s coral species and 14 types of Whales and Dolphins. It also provides food and livelihood for 42 towns, cities and municipalities

Source: The Freeman

The dead Turtle that was found by divers in Moalboal.
Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: Moalboal mayor offers P50K reward to find Turtle’s killer
By Morexette B. Erram, 1st December 2017;

Mayor Inocentes Cabaron will give a P50,000 cash reward to those who can provide information leading to the identification and arrest of person/s responsible for the killing of a Green Sea Turtle (pawikan) (Chelonia mydas) in Moalboal town, southwest Cebu last Wednesday.

“We are offering P50,000 to any person who could give information leading to the identification and arrest of the person or people concerned,” Cabaron said in a text message yesterday.

In a follow-up phone interview, the mayor said, this is the second time a Green Turtle was killed intentionally. The first one, he said, happened in 2006 or 2007 wherein a person smashed the head of the creature with a bottle.

“Our constituents were outraged. And we (from the local government) felt the same. This is why we are offering a P50,000 cash reward because killing the Green Sea Turtle is a blow to our tourism industry,” he stated.

Data from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) revealed that there are at least four sanctuaries in the waters of Moalboal town that became world-famous diving spots.

Initial reports from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR–7) and the Tourist Police of Moalboal showed that the reptile was found by divers floating dead with a wound believed hit by a spear gun in Sampaguita Reef off the coast of Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal.

DENR–7 information officer Charmi Regudo told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview that the agency’s Tañon Strait Protected Seascape task force is still verifying the cause of its death.

She also said that they are still conducting investigation on the matter.

Regudo said that according to the tourist police unit, the Turtle would have been dead for around three to four days before it was found by divers.

“The dead Turtle was already turned over to the Bantay Dagat on Thursday,” said Regudo.

Spear gun fishing is banned in marine sanctuaries in Moalboal, located more than 88 kilometers southwest of Cebu City.

The photo of the dead Green Turtle posted on Kalle Epp Facebook page last Wednesday, went viral and generated more than 7,300 reactions from netizens and shared across the platform at least 3,230 times.

“We have found a dead Turtle this morning at the coral reef near Sampaguita, not far from our dive shop. By all means it looks like it has a spear gun wound in the neck. We are outraged!” the photo caption reads.

Meanwhile, Penro also offered to help trace the killer of the Green Turtle.

Rommel Kirit, Penro senior environment manager, said they were now coordinating with the local officials, law enforcers, fisherfolks’ organization, and owners of diving shops to obtain information about the incident.

“While DENR–7 is probing the matter, we will help by tracing the hunter,” said Kirit.

Kirit said that the Bantay Dagat in Moalboal buried the Turtle yesterday morning since it was already in a state of decomposition.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Spear gun victim. A Sea Turtle lies dead on the shores of Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu.
Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: DENR-Central Visayas to probe sea turtle death
30th November 2017;

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Central Visayas is set to investigate an incident in Moalboal town wherein a pawikan or Sea Turtle was found dead on the town’s shores earlier this week.

Dr. Eddie Llamedo, DENR-Central Visayas public information officer, told SunStar Cebu that they have tasked the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS) to investigate who the culprits are behind the killing of the turtle in Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal.

On his Facebook page, Kalle Epp, a netizen, claimed they found a dead Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) in a coral reef in Sitio Tongo, Barangay Basdiot earlier this week.

A spear gun wound was found on the dead Turtle’s neck.

“We are outraged! Since several weeks we have seen an increase in people, local and foreign, coming to Moalboal for spear gun hunting as a sport and reported this to authorities,” Epp said, in his post.

Epp has appealed to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities in Moalboal.

Cirilo Tapales, Barangay Basdiot chief, told SunStar Cebu that the dead pawikan has been turned over to the town’s tourist police.

Tapales believes that fishermen from other barangays may have speared the Turtle at night to avoid detection.

Tapales said spear hunting is illegal in Moalboal.

Llamedo said hunting Sea Turtle especially within marine protected areas like the Tañon Strait is illegal, according to Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.

A fisherman caught violating RA 9147 could spend jail time of up to 10 years or pay a fine of P500,000 for each Sea Turtle that he or she kills.

Llamedo also reminded the municipal government of Moalboal to boost up its monitoring activities on their coastal waters to avoid such incidents.

Sea Turtles are considered critically endangered under the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“The presence of a pawikan is a sign of having a healthy marine ecosystem and we need people and fishers who take care of them while they travel for forage or nourishment,” Llamedo added.

Source: Sun.Star

Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: Sea Turtle found dead in Cebu
By Annie Perez, 30th November 2017;

Divers on Wednesday found a pawikan (Sea Turtle) dead at the Sampaguita Reef in Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu, apparently succumbing to wounds on its face and neck.

Renato Vidal was manning a pump boat full of divers when a floating Hawksbill Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) caught their attention. When they approached, they found out that the Turtle was already dead.

They suspect the Turtle was a victim of spear fishing.

Moalboal police have yet to determine if the Turtle was wounded on its own or was intentionally harmed.

Under Republic Act 9147, harming and killing endangered animals, including the pawikan, is punishable by law.

Moalboal Police chief Senior Insp. Jose Rovic Villarin said they are still investigating the matter.

Marine life advocates in Moalboal are now calling on the public to stop harming marine life, especially the pawikan.

Beth Balane, a dive guide, said marine life is also for the next generation to see.

The dead Turtle was turned over to the Provincial Environmental Office for further investigation.

The town of Moalboal is a dive spot in Cebu province known for its rich marine life.

Source: ABS-CBN News

TURTLE KILLED IN MOALBOAL

We have found a dead Turtle this morning at the coral reef near Sampanguita, not far from our dive shop. With by all means looks like a spear gun wound in the neck. We are outraged!

Since several weeks we have seen an increase in people, local and foreign, coming to Moalboal for spear gun hunting as a sport and reported this to authorities. The Turtle killed is one of the Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) which are a major tourist attraction, protected by national and local laws. We appeal to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities and senseless slaughtering of protected marine life for sport in Moalboal. We offer our full support in the investigation and protection of Moalboal’s marine life. The Turtle is handed over to local authorities for determine the exact cause of death.

Source: Kalle Epp Facebook

Malaysia: Endangered Sea Turtles caught in fishing net saved by fishermen

27th October 2017;

Fishing nets are a threat to the marine ecosystem, which is proven yet again when a group of local fishermen recently saved four Sea Turtles and ending their week of misery of being caught in the fishing nets.

As reported by Kosmo!, the group stumbled upon the distressing scene at roughly 9am on Wednesday (Oct 25) with one of the four endangered marine reptiles in a fragile state as one of its hind legs was almost cut off while its abdomen was bloated.

The captain of the crew, Wan Abdul Halim Wan Mohamed Dom, recounted that they found the trawling net, which entrapped the found Sea Turtles, at 22 nautical miles from the Kuala Kerteh Fisheries Jetty and are convinced that it may have belonged to foreign fishermen.

The 43-year-old went on to elaborate that he along with his three-man crew were on their way to their fishing spot to collect the fish that have been caught, when they came across the foreign trawling net.

“We found a trawling net that was 200 metres long and 10 metres wide. After we pulled it out and cut it open, we found two Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) and two Hawksbill Sea Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata),” the captain revealed to Kosmo! yesterday.

While Wan Abdul Halim shared that three of the Sea Turtles have been released to the sea, the severely injured turtle was taken back to the Kuala Kerteh Fisheries Jetty for treatment purposes.

He conveyed to the Malay daily that the Persatuan Khazanah Rakyat Ma’ Daerah (MEKAR) Kerteh has been informed of the discovery of the injured Hawksbill Turtle, prior handing it over to the Turtles and Marine Ecosystem Centre (TUMEC) in Rantau Abang yesterday.

Meanwhile, Fisheries Research Institute Officer Mohd Tamimi Ali Ahmad communicated that initial inspection revealed that the Hawksbill Turtle was severely injured and therefore, preventing it to swim normally.

“Based on its physical condition, it’s believed that the Hawksbill Turtle was trapped in the drift nets for a long period of time.

"The aquatic reptile is estimated to be between four and six years old and will be treated until it is fully recovered prior releasing it back to the ocean,” he affirmed.

Mohd Tamimi also underlined that the drift nets are believed to have belonged to foreign fishermen, who invaded Malaysian waters as the Department of Fisheries has banned the total use of trawling nets.

Sinar Harian reported that the officer revealed that many Sea Turtles have swam towards the middle of the sea following Vietnamese fishermen illegally harvesting marine produce mostly in the vicinity of Pulau Tenggol.

“Their illegal actions are damaging the coral reefs, which happens to be the primary ecosystem for Sea Turtles,” he lamented.

“I’m proud of the immediate action taken by our local fishermen to rescue the endangered Sea Turtles, that are protected under the Fisheries Act 1985,” he applauded.

Wan Abdul Halim on the other hand expressed his hope that enforcement measures will continue to improve as a means to ensure that foreign fishermen will not continue to threat out marine ecosystem.

Source: Malaysian Digest

Malaysia: Endangered Sea Turtles caught in fishing net saved by fishermen

Photo: Kompas.com

Indonesia: Endangered Green Turtle found dead with wounds in Polewali Mandar
14th April 2017;

A Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) was found stranded and dead with wounds all over its body at Mampie Beach in Wonomulyo district, Polewali Mandar regency, West Sulawesi, on Thursday night.

The Green Turtle, which is listed as a protected species, was found by local residents and members of Komunitas Sahabat Penyu (Friends of Turtle Community). The dead reptile reportedly had wounds on its neck and head as well as a damaged shell.

The community’s chairman, Yusri, suspected that the turtle was beaten to death by fishermen as turtles, drawn to fishnets full of fish, are often seen during fishing activities, Yusri said.

“We will encourage all stakeholders, including local residents and the maritime police, to intensify joint patrol to protect Turtles,” Yusri said as quoted by kompas.com.

Yusri and student activists on Turtle protection further conducted an examination of the dead Turtle, including recording the Turtle’s measurements and analyzing its wounds. The dead reptile was buried so that its shell would not be illegally traded.

Friends of Turtle Community members and activists have recently intensified patrol efforts along the shores of Mampie Beach on the evenings to prevent anyone from stealing the endangered species’ eggs, as many Turtles typically lay eggs there in April.

Local residents and the Friends of Turtle Community commonly find large Turtles stranded and dead at Mampie Beach.

Source: Jakarta Post