(Seychelles News Agency) Seychelles' Department of Environment has observed a drastic increase in sea turtle poaching and has therefore increased its monitoring and surveillance efforts, said a top official. The department's director of conservation, Ashley Dias, told SNA on Thursday that the nesting season has barely started and the authorities have recorded 14 cases of poaching compared with eight cases for the whole season last year.
"As a result conservationists have increased monitoring efforts and surveillance, patrolling the beaches where we know turtles come to nest. We are also going hard on our educational programme to sensitise the public on the danger and consequences of poaching," said Dias.
Dias said that more poaching is occurring in the southern part of the main island of Mahe because the beaches are more isolated and out of sight, making it easier for poachers to go undetected.
"Therefore we are asking members of the public to give a helping hand and to report on any suspicious activities," said Dias.
Sea turtles in Seychelles are protected under the Wild Animals and Birds Protection Act and the penalty for offences is up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $37,000.