The Illegal Trade of Hawksbill Turtle Shells in Indonesia Remains High, Estimated to Cost 5 Billion IDR

The illegal trade of Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) shell byproducts in Indonesia remains high, estimated to be 5 billion IDR (360,000 USD, current exchange rate). The latest investigation by the PROFAUNA Indonesia team revealed that the illegal trade of the Hawksbill turtle byproducts occured in Bali, Nias, North Sumatra and also in the online market.

The largest portion of the illegal turtle trade is in the online marke. Between August and September 2019, the team surveyed 11 e-commerce websites to find out about the Hawksbill trade. The surveyed sites included Shopee, Tokopedia, Bukalapak, Carousell, Prelo, Kaskus, Belanjaqu, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, Blogpost accounts and other sites. The results were found that there were 1,574 advertisements and 199 accounts related to the online trade of Hawksbill turtles.

The byproducts containing the Hawksbill turtle shell that being sold online are accessories like rings, bracelets, necklaces and other crafts varying from 15,000 IDR for the simple craft like a ring to millions IDR for a hand fan. The team recorded that the total number of the items offered online are 29,326 items and are estimated to cost around 5 billion IDR.

Sea Turtle Trade in Bali and Nias

Besides the online market, the Hawksbill sea turtle byproducts are also sold in many shops in Bali and Nias Islands. The survey in June-September 2019 in Bali showed that out of the 353 shops visited by the team, there were 25 shops selling Hawksbill turtle byproducts.

The main location in Bali selling a lot of Hawksbill turtle byproducts was in Sukawati Market. Out of the 22 shops visited by the team, there were 13 shops selling the Hawksbill byproducts. Besides Sukawati, the illegal products are also sold in Denpasar, Dalung, and Ubud areas.

Meanwhile, the illegal trade of the Hawksbill turtle byproducts in Nias Island was found in 4 locations: Gunung Sitoli, Bawomataluo, Sorake and Teluk Dalam villages. Out of the 14 shops visited by the team, all were recorded selling the crafts of Hawksbill turtle byproducts.

The crafts made from the Hawksbill turtle in Nias Island are more varied than those in Bali. The crafts included waist bags, hair clips, guitar picks, card boxes, earrings, key chains, watch straps and miniature of Nias traditional houses.

NGO Coalition for Campaign Against Hawksbill Turtle Trade

The rampant trade of of the Hawksbill turtle byproducts in Indonesia has moved several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to carry out campaigns against the trade of hawksbill turtle. The campaign which tagline "Keren tanpa Sisik" (Cool without Scales will be carried out by a coalition of NGOs consisting of PROFAUNA Indonesia, the Indonesian Turtle Foundation (YPI), Too Rare to Wear from USA and Turtle Foundation International from Germany.

"In addition to the lack of law enforcement, the cause of the rampant trade in the Hawksbill turtle byproducts is due to the consumers' lack of awareness. Therefor the NGO coalition will launch a nationwide campaign to encourage people to stop buying the Hawksbill turtle byproducts, "said Rosek Nursahid, Chairperson of PROFAUNA Indonesia.

Hawksbill turtle has been protected by the law. This means that the hunting or trade, both in living conditions and body parts such as the shell, is prohibited.

According to Law number 5 of 1990 concerning the Conservation of Natural Resources and the Ecosystems, the trade in the protected animals such as sea turtles is liable to a maximum of five years' imprisonment and a 100 million IDR fine.

© 2003 - ProFauna Indonesia

ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats