MANAGUA – Representatives of Nicaraguan and international conservation organizations last week launched a campaign to prevent the continued marketing of turtle eggs.
Leaders of Fauna & Flora International – a worldwide conservation organization – and local sea-turtle preservation groups said that the illegal trafficking in eggs from various species has continued despite being prohibited.
Among the species that nest on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts are the green turtle, the hawksbill turtle, the leatherback, the loggerhead sea turtle, the Paslama turtle and the Tora turtle.
Francisco Gadea, director of protected areas for the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, said the poaching of different types of turtle eggs is carried out on secluded beaches and that turtles should be considered at risk of extinction.
The turtles nest and reproduce in remote coastal areas and their eggs are collected and sold by local residents, for whom the product is a vital source of income. Turtle eggs are considered both an aphrodisiac and a delicacy in Nicaragua.
On the Caribbean coast, turtle eggs have long been a part of the diet for indigenous communities, but the eggs are also poached and sold in fishing communities and urban areas on the Pacific coast.
Gadea said that in seeking to prevent poaching it is important to provide socioeconomic alternatives for those who sell turtle eggs on the streets and to restaurants and markets.
The turtle-nesting season started earlier this month.