ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Philippine Coast Guard arrested two fishermen for transporting a hawksbill sea turtle they caught off the Santa Cruz Island.
Alonto Inguan, 42, and Bagatsing Katomel, 45, were brought to the Coast Guard headquarters and handed over to the maritime police on Saturday.
Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar rushed to the Coast Guard to oversee the turnover of the 18-inch hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate) to the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources.
The reptile was released to its natural habitat near Santa Cruz Island after being tagged for documentation and Agaton Baysa, a wildlife enforcement officer, estimated the age of the turtle to be around 10 years old.
Meanwhile, the Philippines signed an agreement with Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam to improve intergovernmental cooperation to curb the illegal trade of marine turtles in the Coral Triangle.
“With the ongoing issue of poaching of marine turtles, the country recognized the need for an integrated approach in addressing this challenge,” said Mundita Lim, Philippine Biodiversity Management Bureau Director.