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Egypt Launches National Plan to Stop the Slaughtering of Sea Turtles

In a new nation-wide campaign, the Egyptian government will be actively enforcing environmental laws aimed at saving endangered species of sea turtles, which, as it stands, sell for up to 1,200 EGP each in fish markets in Alexandria.

Egypt's Ministry of Environment is stepping up its efforts in preparation for launch of its National Plan for Protection of Turtles next summer in order to protect endangered species of sea turtles along the coasts of Egypt. The announcement was made public by the ministry's Director of Reserves in the North Coast Mohamed Issawi, Al Monitor reports.

The comprehensive plan, which will initially ban the trade of endangered species, will also include the formation of a task force in order to monitor fishing activities along Egypt's north coast and intervene properly when sea turtles are at risk from fishermen and fishmongers. “The plan also includes awareness campaigns for beach-goers and distribution of leaflets on how to handle turtle nests and eggs and how to conserve them,” Issawi says to Al Monitor.

The soon-to-be-launched plan comes as a continuation of efforts started by Alexandria Turtles Rescue Team (ATRT), which was established in 2014, and has since been monitoring famous sea turtle markets in Alexandria, in order to purchase as many sea turtles as possible before their slaughter and releasing them in the nearest natural habitat. The price of one turtle in Alexandria ranges from 800 to 1,200 EGP, according to ATRT head May Hamada.

(Sea Turtle For Sale on Egypt's OLX)

Turtle slaughter is a common phenomenon in Alexandria and northern coastal areas, where locals believe eating sea turtle meat and drinking its blood might have positive effects on sexual performance and even help with losing weight.

Photo: National Geographic