A 57-year-old fisherman in Jembrana may spend up to five months behind bars for allegedly poaching nine endangered green sea turtles and attempting to sell them.
The man, identified as S, is a resident of Pengambengan Village. He was charged with endangering protected wildlife under Indonesia’s Environment Protection Act.
Local outlets reported that S was arrested on Feb. 18 by the Jembrana Police after they received a tip about a suspicious activity at a port in Jembrana. A witness, 40-year-old MB, told the authorities that he was asked to move a container when cleaning the suspect’s boat.
S told MB that there was only trash in the container, when in reality it contained nine sea turtles that are protected under Indonesian law. Following an interrogation, S admitted that he caught the nine turtles in the span of three days while sailing around the Bali Strait.
He insisted that was not aware that the sea turtles were endangered, despite knowing their value on the market. S also denied accusations that someone ordered him to search for the turtles.
“[The defendant] admits to his wrongdoings,” Prosecutor Delfi Trimariono told the Jembrana District Court.
The nine sea turtles were reportedly released on March 8 after spending time under the care of the Kurma Asih Sea Turtle Conservation Center in Jembrana.
According to Bali’s Environmental Protection Agency, this is the first reported turtle smuggling case in 2022. Last year, authorities handled three such cases.