42 countries have no laws against killing endangered sea turtles (40,000+ are 'legally' killed each year)

Sea turtle
CC BY-SA 2.0 Flickr

Outrageous!

According to the IUCN Red List, all 7 species of marine turtles are endangered. They're all covered by CITES regulations to prevent international trade in turtles and turtle products, but within national borders, it is the responsibility of individual countries to create and enforce laws to protect these threatened species.

Well, for sea turtles, that's not happening in 42 countries. According to a study by Exeter University, these have no laws in place to prevent fishing of endangered marine turtles. Their 'legal' (in these countries) harvest is estimated at around 42,000 each year... This is in addition to all the illegal turtle fishing in international waters and all the deaths from bycatch.

Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

This is still an improvement over a few decades ago: "In the late 1960′s 17,000 tonnes of turtles a year were harvested and in 1960 in Mexico over 380,000 turtles were estimated to have been caught." The data indicates that since the 1980s more than 2 million turtles have been caught, although current levels are less than 60% of those in the 1980s.

But this is still far from ok. These endangered species need all the protection they can get, and the international community should put pressure on countries where marine turtle fishing is still legal, which are concentrated in the Caribbean region and the Indo-Pacific region.

Fotopedia/CC BY 3.0

Via Wildlife News

See also: Divers meet extremely playful wild seals off the coast of England, film the whole adventure

Tags: Animals | Oceans | Turtles