Egyptian authorities recently confiscated sea turtles that were being illegally traded by fishmongers in Alexandria’s fish markets.
The Egyptian Ministry of Environment organised a successful operation in coordination with environmental police authorities on 24th May 2015, after MEDASSET had alerted them to the resurgence of illegal sea turtle trade in Alexandria’s fish markets. A local citizen group, that is taking action against the illegal captivity of wildlife, assisted the police operation.
The premises of two fishmongers were inspected by the police and, as a result, nine sea turtles were confiscated alive and released back into the sea. The shells of slaughtered green and loggerhead turtles, as well as one of a rare leatherback turtle, were also found.
MEDASSET supplied the authorities with information on the fishmongers involved in the illegal trade, following our recent assessment of the current status of the illegal sea turtle trade, which was conducted with help from a local volunteer, Sherif Abdullah, and our representative in Egypt, Mohamed Nada, during September 2014-March 2015. Our survey revealed that both open and covert trading of sea turtles is occurring in 6 fish markets in 3 areas of Alexandria. The turtles are being sourced from fishermen and are illegally sold, mainly by fishmongers, who are keeping the sea turtles alive, turned onto their backs, until they are slaughtered for consumption. The shells of slaughtered turtles are also being illegally sold, as artefacts.
MEDASSET welcomes the proactive approach being taken by Egyptian Ministry of Environment in response to the submission of our survey results. We will continue to work with the authorities to put an end to the illegal trade and consumption of sea turtles in Egypt. Learn more about the work we have been doing since 1993 to study and protect sea turtles in Egypt.