All five species of marine turtles occurring in Vietnam nearing extinction27/05/2009 16:14:27
All five species of marine turtles occurring in Vietnamese waters are considered at risk of extinction by IUCN:
May 2009. Marine turtles are vanishing from Viet Nam's waters and illegal trade is largely to blame says a new study by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.
Large marine turtles are now virtually absent from Viet Nam's waters
Government owned souvenir shop selling turtle products
"Without effective enforcement of the laws, the future for marine turtles in Vietnamese waters looks very bleak." says Tom Osborn, Acting Director of TRAFFIC's Greater Mekong Programme.
Large scale exports
Exploitation of marine turtles banned - But continuing
In Ha Tien and Ho Chi Minh City, traders cited Indonesia and Malaysia as their main sources of turtles and raw scutes (the large scales on the turtle's carapace or shell). All international trade in marine turtles is banned under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
According to the report, a lack of product more than law enforcement explains the steady downturn in the number of outlets selling marine turtle products.
Green Turtle meat was rarer than in 2002, and its price had increased significantly compared with those recorded during a 2002 TRAFFIC survey. In a Ha Tien market, after allowing for inflation, its price had more than doubled by 2008, pushing it into the luxury meat category. However, in some towns, the study found bekko workshops and stores, including a government-owned souvenir shop, selling hundreds of marine turtle products operating in plain view of authorities.
The study found that businessmen in some areas were aware that it was illegal to capture, process and sell marine turtle products but there had been no action taken to confiscate or destroy the illegal items on sale. The study said that most indicators pointed towards a falling demand, but vendors continued to report good sales for most marine turtle products indicating that the trade still posed a serious threat.
The study recommends that authorities look into finding alternative sources of income for communities dependent on the sale of marine turtle products, expand existing awareness programmes and confiscate and destroy all marine turtle products that remain on sale.