Ministry of Marine Affairs & Fisheries Confiscated Hundreds of Sea Turtle Shell-based Souvenirs in Berau

Rampant trade of souvenirs made from Hawksbill Sea Turtle's shell in Berau, East Borneo, has gained serious attention from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (Kementrian Kelautan dan Perikanan/KKP), who deployed a special team to undergo a field inspection on 27-28 February 2016. During their visit to Derawan Island and Tanjung Redeb, the team was assisted by officials from Berau's Marine Affairs and Fisheries Service and Turtle Foundation.

From the inspection, the team found several shops who still sell sea turtle shell-based souvenirs in Derawan and Tanjung Redeb, although the number was small compared to PROFAUNA's previous finding. On the occasion, the team confiscated 135 souvenirs from the shops.

Prior to the inspection, Protection of Forest & Fauna (PROFAUNA) Borneo and a local group named Perkumpulan Konservasi Biota Laut Berau had conducted monitoring which revealed that between January-February 2016 there were over 28 souvenir shops selling sea turtle shell-based souvenirs in Derawan, so as four other shops in Tanjung Redeb. Those souvenirs were sold for IDR 5,000-500,000 each.

The finding was reported to the newly-elected Mayor of Berau, H.Muharram S.pd, M.M., during a meeting attended by officials from the mayor's office, police department, and military sevice, on 3 March 2016. The Mayor agreed to form an inter-institution forum to address this problem and to promote a local regulation to protect marine ecosystem (including the sea turtles).

Following the meeting, PROFAUNA Borneo and the team from KKP revisited Derawan Island to investigate the trade of sea turtle shell-based souvenirs. The joint team found that there were one shop that still continue selling sea turtle shell-based souvenirs.

"All sea turtle species and its body parts are protected by law, thus it is strongly prohibited to be traded, either dead, alive, or in parts," explained Bayu Sandi, the coordinator of PROFAUNA Borneo.

Sea turtle trade, including its body parts like shell and eggs, is violating Law no.5 of 1990 concerning the Conservation of Living Natural Resources and Its Ecosystem. Anyone who breaks this law shall be liable to a maximum 5 years of prison and IDR 100 million fines.

"PROFAUNA demands that all sea turtle dealers be given fair penalty to impose a deterrent effect," said Bayu.

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ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
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