KUALA TERENGGANU, Nov 18 — The Terengganu State Assembly today unanimously passed the Turtle Enactment 1951 (Amendment 2021), which, among others, imposes a total ban on sale of all types of turtle eggs and provides for heavier penalties for offences against the marine life species.

When tabling the enactment, state Agriculture, Agro-based Industries and Rural Development Committee chairman Dr Azman Ibrahim said the amended enactment was aimed at protecting and preventing the extinction of all turtle species, including terrapins.

“It needed to be amended so that the ban on the sale of all turtle species can be enforced and also completely prohibit any person from owning any turtle species except for permitted purposes,” he said.

When met by reporters after the sitting, Dr Azman said the amended enactment will be enforced from June 1, 2022 which also involved a ban on the sale of turtle eggs for all species.

“Compared to other states in Malaysia, Terengganu is the only state that allows the sale of turtle eggs. What is not allowed to be sold are only leatherback turtle eggs. But these turtles have not been seen landing on any beach in Terengganu in five or six years. So the previous enactment is no longer relevant,” he said.

With the move, higher fines await for offences like disturbing and killing turtles, which range from RM50,000 to RM250,000, compared to only RM3,000 previously.

Apart from that, Dr Azman said, the Turtle Enactment 1951 (Amendment 2021) will also make it compulsory for all tourist boats to install boat propeller guards to prevent death of turtles.

“After this, boats that bring tourists to see turtles and so on need to have propeller guards because there were many cases of turtle deaths due to the propellers. Turtles are tame and when the boat comes, they swim close to it, but the boat driver is not aware that there is a turtle below (the boat),” he said.

In the meantime, he said the amended enactment also allows the Turtle Conservation Trust Fund to be established to carry out education on turtles and conservation activities, apart from repurchasing turtle eggs following the enforcement of the ban on the sale of turtle eggs.

He also believed that the ban on the sale of turtle eggs for all species would not have major implications for the sellers as the activity of selling turtle eggs is only their side income. — Bernama