THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 has arrested two men who were caught carrying 10 kilos of sea turtle meat in their boat at the Pasil Fish Port in Cebu City last week.
The two will be charged for violation of Republic Act 9147, otherwise known as the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.
Dr. Eddie Llamedo, DENR 7 spokesperson, said that due to the two men’s arrest, they have revived efforts to monitor Cebu City for the illegal sale of sea turtle meat, locally known as “pawikan.”
As of yesterday, Llamedo has not disclosed the names of the two suspects as they are still preparing the complaint to be filed against them.
Llamedo said the two men reportedly came from Talibon, Bohol and were bound for Pasil carrying their cargo of sea turtle meat.
The suspects didn’t know that operatives from DENR 7, who had been conducting surveillance on their activities, were waiting for them at the port.
Upon arriving at the Pasil Fish Port, the DENR 7 operatives arrested them.
Close to 10 kilos of sea turtle meat were recovered from the two fishermen, which they plan to sell up to P400 per kilogram.
Llamedo said the confiscated sea turtle meat was supposed to go to a food seller in the area, which specializes on “larang,” a spicy and sour seafood stew.
He said the stew is often sold for up to P70 per serving.
Llamedo said that aside from poachers of sea turtle, consumers of its meat could be charged if caught.
Those caught selling sea turtle meat could face jail time up to five years or to pay a fine up to P500, 000.
Due to the reviving industry of catching sea turtles for meat, DENR 7 director Isabelo Montejo has ordered a strict surveillance on all markets.
Llamedo said that the Pasil Fish Port in Cebu City and Barangay Tanke in Talisay City have the most prevalent incidents of selling sea turtle meat.