Citing Cultural Practices, CNMI Wants Ability To Harvest Green Sea Turtles

Government hopes to revive ritual use of endangered species 

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 8, 2016) – In a clash of federal law and cultural practice, the Northern Marianas government is reviving its more than decade-long quest to be allowed to harvest a limited number of green sea turtles.

Green sea turtles are listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Northern Marianas acting Gov. Victor Hocog brought up the issue at a Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council meeting Monday in Saipan.

The council stated in a press release that while Hocog clarified he isn’t fond of eating turtle, he said: “It is sad to hear we have so many turtles around, yet our people cannot even harvest one for ceremonial use.”

The turtles that hatch in the CNMI travel to the Philippines, where they are eaten, while the CNMI people are told to “stay back and don’t touch,” the council quoted Hocog as having said at the Saipan meeting.

In a clash of federal law and cultural practice, the Northern Marianas government is reviving its more than decade-long quest to be allowed to harvest a limited number of green sea turtles.

Green sea turtles are listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Northern Marianas acting Gov. Victor Hocog brought up the issue at a Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council meeting Monday in Saipan.

The council stated in a press release that while Hocog clarified he isn’t fond of eating turtle, he said: “It is sad to hear we have so many turtles around, yet our people cannot even harvest one for ceremonial use.”

The turtles that hatch in the CNMI travel to the Philippines, where they are eaten, while the CNMI people are told to “stay back and don’t touch,” the council quoted Hocog as having said at the Saipan meeting.

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2016 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

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