Sea turtles are among the animals with great mythological and spiritual importance in different cultures in the world. But even with that, humans are not above themselves to consume the meat or eggs of sea turtles. The significance of these animals to cultures does not deter them, much less the laws dictating their consumption’s illegality.
Even with the laws protecting sea turtles, the poaching of shells, eggs, and meat of sea turtles continues to be one of the major threats in their survival. Humans harvest the turtle’s eggs and meat to consume, which in some places are even considered a delicacy. In some countries, this is a trade known to provide income to a lot of people.
The sea turtle industry is rampant in coastal communities in Asia and Central America. In these places, sea turtles are a food source. In this trade, the hunters will usually search the beaches during the nesting season to look for female nesting turtles. The hunters would often wait until the females finished laying their eggs before killing her.
By doing that, the hunters can harvest both meat and eggs to sell for human consumption. Sea turtles are not only known in some countries as a delicacy, but they are also even considered as an aphrodisiac. In some places of sea turtles are merely the whims of people. On the other hand, others eat them as part of their religious holiday observance.
One of the countries where the consumption of sea turtles is part of their culture in Mexico. Thousands of the country’s residents would travel to communities near the Pacific coast a week before the Easter. During this week, the people search the beach for sea turtles as well as other seafood. In this region alone, thousands of sea turtles are consumed within that short period.
To the Europeans, sea turtles were also considered a specialty, at least before the time they were deemed to be endangered. They would often cook turtle soup and eat the meat of sea turtles. Part of the sea turtle poaching trade also involves using other parts of the animal for other products. The skin, shell, cartilage, and oil of sea turtles are often harvested.
The reality of the problem is the fact that in areas where sea turtles are often poached are coastal communities with limited access to jobs. As such, it’s become their way to sustain their family to collect turtle eggs and hunt their meat. Due to this, the government’s view is not that those who hunt sea turtles are necessarily bad people.
This thinking is vital in finding out the best solutions to fight against the threat of harvesting sea turtles for consumption. On that note, the government and conservationists have already tried and tested a good number of methods to combat this threat. Among those include educating people, relocating eggs, patrolling the nesting beaches, and other means, which are most successful when combined.