13 Vietnamese arrested in Philippines over sea turtles

Oct 21, 2013
Image provided on November 30, 2012 by Naval Forces West shows Philippine navy personnel measuring hundreds of rescued sea turtles from poachers aboard a boat in Palawan island

Thirteen Vietnamese fishermen were arrested after being found in Philippine waters with a haul of protected sea turtles, police said Monday.

The fishermen were caught on Friday off the western Philippine island of Palawan, in waters near the South China Sea where authorities say foreign poaching of endangered or protected species has become a major problem.

"Upon initial inspection, it was found out that the said foreign fishing vessel is loaded with undetermined (number of) pieces of dead ," said Benigno Caabay, a station officer at the Palawan police provincial headquarters, quoting an official report.

The 13 are being held at a police camp in Palawan while officers look into filing a case against them, Caabay added.

Sea turtles are protected under Philippine law and catching them is punishable by at least 12 years in jail.

In recent years, Philippine authorities have frequently caught foreigners, often Chinese, catching or buying sea turtles in the waters off Palawan.

In November last year, in the same area where the Vietnamese were caught, the Philippine navy rescued more than 100 sea turtles from poachers. But the fishermen, whom authorities believed to be Chinese, escaped.

Twelve Chinese were also arrested in April after their boat, which ran aground on a protected reef, was found to be carrying hundreds of dead pangolins, or scaley anteaters, another protected species.

Their case is still pending in court.

The issue of foreigners poaching endangered species has become sensitive in the Philippines, with environmentalists calling for stronger action against the perpetrators.

Following pressure from their governments, the often have the charges dropped or lessened, allowing them to be deported quickly back home.

Caabay said fisheries experts were still determining what of turtles were caught, although he stressed they were all protected under local laws.

The turtles were frozen and packed tightly in the cargo hold of the fishing vessel, he said.

Turtles are used in traditional medicine or are served as delicacy in many Asian countries.

Explore further: Thai Airways bans shark fin from cargo flights

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Protected pangolins seized from Philippine boat

Apr 23, 2013

Philippine authorities have seized 23 protected scaly anteaters found hidden in a cargo boat, in the second case of suspected trafficking of the species in a month, officials said.

6 Chinese charged for turtle catch in Philippines

Dec 04, 2011

(AP) -- Six Chinese fishermen accused of poaching endangered sea turtles were charged in a Philippine court Monday, part of efforts to protect threatened wildlife along the country's coastline.

Endangered pangolins found on Chinese poacher boat

Apr 15, 2013

The Philippine coast guard said Monday it had found hundreds of frozen scaly anteaters, or pangolins, in the cargo hold of a Chinese boat that ran aground in a protected marine sanctuary last week.

Philippines finds huge hoard of endangered species

Jul 05, 2013

Five dead crocodiles, 14 critically endangered turtles and a cache of other rare species have been found in the home of a suspected wildlife trader in one of the Philippines' biggest slums, the government ...

Hong Kong to return rare Philippine turtles

Apr 25, 2012

Thirty-six live turtles seized from a smuggler, including 20 of one of the world's rarest species, are to be returned from Hong Kong to the Philippines, officials said on Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Brother of Hibiscus is found alive and well on Maui

3 hours ago

Most people are familiar with Hibiscus flowers- they are an iconic symbol of tropical resorts worldwide where they are commonly planted in the landscape. Some, like Hawaii's State Flower- Hibiscus brackenridgei- are en ...

Boat noise impacts development and survival of sea hares

5 hours ago

While previous studies have shown that marine noise can affect animal movement and communication, with unknown ecological consequences, scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter and the École Pratique des Hautes ...

Classic Lewis Carroll character inspires new ecological model

21 hours ago

Inspired by the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, collaborators from the University of Illinois and National University of Singapore improved a 35-year-old ecology model to better understand how species ...

Saving seeds the right way can save the world's plants

Jul 30, 2014

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world's most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks ...

User comments : 0