Forestry Commission warn against turtle-catching

Social News Forestry Commission warn against turtle-catching
MAR 4, 2024 LISTEN

Mr Ernest Apenkwah, Site Manager of the Forestry Commission, Ada East, has declared zero tolerance for fishers who catch and sell turtles, saying the Commission will apply the laws on such persons to the letter. 

Mr Apenkwah therefore warned families and opinion leaders in the communities in Ada East to desist from pleading for recalcitrant fishers catching turtles against the provisions of the laws of the country.

He said turtles play a major role in the marine ecosystem by promoting nutrients, controlling the population of other animals, recycling, and building habitats for other animals, among others.

He said this during a day's sensitization programme held by Sharks and Rays on the conservation of hammerhead sharks to protect the ecosystem.

Some of the fishermen during the programme said turtles were being caught by some community members.

Mr Apenkwah said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that “within this area, there’s some community that eats the turtles, but sometimes they send it to the riverbank and sell it.”

He said that almost any time his outfit and Police apprehends people for catching turtles, family heads, opinion leaders, and community members follow up even to the Police station to beg on their behalf.

“We’re not going to listen to any of the opinion leaders; if the law catches you, we’ll make sure you face the law because that would help us conserve our ecosystem,” he said.

Mr Apenkwah said until people were arrested and prosecuted, society would not yearn to do the right thing for the benefit of all.

He said the Commission had done a lot of sensitization to alert them on the need to preserve the species; however, all efforts to get some people aligned with that vision had proved futile.

According to him, the Commission, in collaboration with some fishermen, had formed a task force made up of volunteers as a measure to deal with the situation.

He said these volunteers assist the Commission by reporting to officials whenever they see perpetrators and help to facilitate their arrest and prosecution.

He urged community members to be vigilant and report to help the wildlife division of the Forestry Commission arrest and prosecute people who flout the laws.