A ship carrying the bodies of 70 Hawksbill turtles — a critically endangered species — was intercepted off the coast of Palawan yesterday (Thursday, July 6).
The boat, operated by proprietor Rico Gonzales Jr and crew member Kim Aristotiles, was apparently on the way in which to Balabac, an island city on the southernmost tip of Palawan which is infamous for wildlife trafficking.
After boarding the boat at 2.30pm, native officers from Dumaran city discovered the lifeless turtles wrapped in plastic baggage and sacks. It is believed they had been taken from Barangay Maytegued, Taytay, a city within the northern half of mainland Palawan.
According to Rappler.com Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) employees recognized the turtles as critically endangered Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata).
Regardless of species, marine turtles are internationally and nationally shielded from poaching. Marine turtles are wanted for his or her meat, eggs and shells.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora lists all seven species as Appendix I, that means all business commerce is against the law.
The confiscated cargo was turned over to the PCSD in Puerto Princesa this morning.
Authorities are set to file charges in opposition to the suspects for violating Section 102 – fishing or taking care of uncommon, threatened or endangered species – of Republic Act 10654 or the amended Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.