Seven people from Kendhoo, Baa Atoll, were fined MVR198,000.00 each after being found guilty of poaching sea turtles, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed on Monday. The fines, totalling MVR1.38 million, were imposed on the poachers on 20 June 2023, and they were given 30 days to pay up, according to the EPA.

Acting on a tip-off, the police caught the seven men red-handed while they were poaching sea turtles on an uninhabited island named Keyodhoo, Baa Atoll, in February this year. Six mutilated turtles were found in the vicinity. The police submitted the preliminary findings of their investigation to the EPA.

Building upon the initial police investigation, the EPA, in collaboration with the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve staff and the Police, conducted an investigation of its own and gathered evidence from the site. These joint efforts led to the prosecution of the five poachers.

In the Maldives, the poaching and trade of sea turtles, along with sea turtle products, have been strictly prohibited under the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act.

The EPA has urged the public to remain vigilant and report any acts that violate these environmental regulations. They have set up a hotline at 7980379 for individuals to confidentially provide information on such offences.