Monday 18 February, 2019

Four caught in Cedros with protected Green Turtle

Photo: Green turtle, via Wikipedia.

Photo: Green turtle, via Wikipedia.

Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries has issued a warning to any would-be poachers after four people were held with a protected green turtle in Cedros earlier this week.

Rambharat said in a brief social media post that the group was caught in the Cedros area on Monday afternoon by game warden Andy Singh.

"Be Warned: Four persons were held this afternoon in the Cedros area and charged by Game Warden Andy Singh, for being in possession of a green turtle, an Environmentally Sensitive Species. The charge carries a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for two years," he said.

The turtle, which had been found in the crocus bag in the men's possession, was later released into the sea. 

The Green Turtle is an Environmentally Sensitive Species, and is listed internationally as an endangered species. The animal is indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago. 

All turtle hunting, as well as the sale of turtle meat, is a criminal offence under the laws of Trinidad and Tobago. It is also illegal to disturb turtle nesting grounds or affect the environment in any way which would harm turtle habitats. 

The Leatherback turtle, Loggerhead turtle, Hawksbill turtle and Olive Ridley turtle are also designated as Environmentally Sensitive Species.

In 2018, the Scarlet Ibis was designated an Environmentally Sensitive Species - anyone caught with a Scarlet Ibis or anyone who recklessly endangers or adversely impacts the species, could be subject to a fine of up to $100,000 or two years imprisonment.

Recently, government implemented stricter fines for poaching and other hunting offences, with amendments made to the Conservation of Wildlife Act as follows:

Section 4 (1)

Fine for hunting in a Game Sanctuary increased from $1,000 to $10,000

Section 5 (2)

Fine for hunting protected animals without a Special Game Licence increased from $1,000 to $10,000.

Section 6 (3)

Fine for failing to produce a State Game Licence increased from $100 to $1,500

Section 6 (4)

Fine for failing to obtain a State Game Licence increased from $400 to $4,000

Section 6 (5)      

Fine for hunting while disqualified increased from $2,000 to $10,000

Section 7 (4)

Fine for hunting during the close season and exercising dogs during close season increased from $2,000 to $10,000

Section 13

Fine for failing to give place of abode/giving a false place of abode increased from $100 to $5,000

Section 15

Fine for assaulting, obstructing/ resisting Game Warden increased from $1,000 to $10,000

Section 17 (1) (a)

Fine for payment of compensation instead of fine increased from $200 to $10,000

Section 18 (2)   

Fine for export of animals without permission increased from $2,000 to $10,000

Section 22

Offences without fines specified increased from $200 to $5,000

Section 24 (1) (h)

Limit of Minister to prescribe fines under Regulations increased from $200 to $10,000 

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