February 16, 2015
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is urging members of the public to desist from capturing or harming sea turtles, which are protected under the Wild Life Protection Act.
Based on information received, the Agency recently conducted an operation in Mona, St. Andrew where five Hawksbill Turtle hatchlings were confiscated from a resident. The animals were processed and released into their natural habitat. The Agency is doing further investigation into the incident.
Four species of sea turtles nest in Jamaica - The Hawksbill, Green, Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies the Hawksbill as critically endangered, the Green Turtle and Loggerhead Turtle as endangered and the Leatherback Turtle as vulnerable. Because of their status, all four species of sea turtles are protected by Jamaican law.
The Wild Life Protection Act (1945) makes it an offence to have a sea turtle or any part of the animal in one's possession. Anyone found guilty of this offence is liable to a fine of up to $100,000 or 12 months imprisonment.
Call NEPA at its toll free line at 1-888-991-5005 or 754-7540 if you have information regarding turtles being captured, harassed and harmed or the meat being sold. Reports may also be made to 119 or the nearest police station.