KUALA TERENGGANU, May 13 -- The tactics of selling turtle eggs online should be blocked and stopped to ensure the survival of the reptiles.
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu’s (UMT) Institute of Oceanography and Environment Research Laboratory head Dr Mohd Uzair Rusli said that while there is no comprehensive law which can prevent people from eating turtle eggs, the direct sale could disrupt the marine animal’s conservation programme.
He said online sales would lead to increased and uncontrolled demand and sales, which would spur sellers to seek turtle eggs without limit while the turtles had to face a difficult path to live, namely, out of 1,000 turtles, only one would grow into an adult turtle.
"Indeed, it is true that eating turtle eggs is a tradition in some states, but the condition now has changed with the increasing world population, we cannot allow the tradition of eating turtle eggs to expand.
“The population of turtles is not increasing as how the human population grows, so it is not sustainable when we take turtle eggs. There are now alternative sources of protein, such as chicken, duck and quail eggs from farms, ”he said, adding that he also hoped for public support to help him stop the online sale.
A Bernama survey on several popular online sales networks found that turtle eggs were being sold at around RM7 each and that it received widespread response, in fact they also claimed the eggs were taken from the Terengganu beaches.
Meanwhile, Terengganu Agriculture, Agro-based Industry and Rural Development Committee chairman, Dr Azman Ibrahim said the state government was working hard to amend the Terengganu Turtle Enactment 1951 (Amendment 1987) which allowed turtle eggs, other than from the leatherback turtle, to be sold.
He said so far only the sale of leatherback turtle eggs had been banned and various parties had been involved in the effort including the State Fisheries Department by holding workshops to review the enactment so that it would be relevant to the turtle landing situation in Terengganu.
State Fisheries Department director Zawawi Ali said the sale of turtle eggs should be at the approval of the department and only about 0.9 to 1.2 per cent of the eggs were being openly sold.
“The move to ensure the turtle's survival has been made by gazetting the landing areas.
“The Lang Central Turtle Watch and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) buy the turtle eggs (collected in the gazetted areas) and incubate them in their registered hatcheries ... this can ensure the eggs can be hatched and eases the burden of the Fisheries Department in buying the eggs.
“The sellers should first ensure the Fisheries Department cannot buy the turtle eggs, then only they can be sold to the outside market. We will also amend the enactment, but it is not yet finalised, "he said.
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