PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, (PNA) -– Environment cops in the northern Palawan town of Dumaran confiscated Sunday evening two dead and 78 live critically endangered species of green sea (pawikan) turtles from two abandoned fishing boats.
Senior Police Officer Mariano Dacillo, chief of the town police, said the green sea turtles were confiscated from fishing boat PETA Express and another, which was not immediately identified, around 8 p.m. in Isla Cabugawan.
Concerned residents tipped off the authorities of the boats’ arrival.
Unfortunately, Dacillo said that when they got to the boats 45 minutes later, the crewmen had abandoned them, possibly after having been warned.
The municipal policemen tried to look for them in the island, but Dacillo said they failed to locate their whereabouts. They also did not know how many crewmen were responsible for the poaching of turtles.
Residents of the island also do not know the identities of the crewmen, he said, because they have not seen them before.
“More or less, we confiscated around 80 critically endangered green sea turtles, and two of them were dead. We have already coordinated this to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) for proper disposition,” he said, adding it shall also handle measuring the green sea turtles.
He said the turtles will be returned to the sea as soon as their measurements have been recorded by environment experts.
Dacillo suspects that the green sea turtles were from residents in the surrounding islands, who catch them to sell them to buyers.
“In our assessment, it looks like they bought the turtles from other fishermen, who now go around poaching them from parts of Dumaran to sell them to buyers,” Dacillo said.