Thursday, July 31, 2008

Reward offered for info on sea turtle poaching


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of persons poaching endangered sea turtles in the territory of Guam and in the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands.


Turtle poaching is an ongoing problem in the Guam area. In recent months, NOAA Special Agents have investigated cases involving the sale and consumption of meat and eggs of protected sea turtles.

Turtle experts believe that turtle poaching is a significant contributing factor to the reduction of indigenous sea turtle populations around the Pacific islands.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects all six species of sea turtles in the United States. Endangered species include the indigenous Green Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill Sea Turtle, which are commonly found in and around Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands. Under the ESA and its corresponding regulations, it is illegal to take, possess, sell, deliver, receive, import, export, carry, transport, or ship any endangered species. A violation of the Endangered Species Act can result in civil penalties of up to $25,000, and criminal fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment up to one year.

Anyone with information is asked to call one of the following numbers:

* Special Agent Charles Raterman (Guam) 671-472-7200; e-mail at charles.raterman@noaa.gov

* Pacific Islands Division (Honolulu, HI) 808-541-2727

* Office for Law Enforcement-National Hotline: 800-853-1964

* Guam Customs & Quarantine Service - MITF: 671-475-6331

* Guam Division of Aquatics and Wildlife - DAWR: 671-735-3991

* US Fish & Wildlife Service - Guam: 671-647-6064

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit http://www.noaa.gov. (NOAA)

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