By Luke Rawalai
A restaurant in Suva has come under the spotlight for allegedly selling turtle meat despite the ban to save the endangered species.
WWF South Pacific Marine Species co-ordinator Laitia Tamata confirmed they have received information regarding the matter.
Mr Tamata said they had collaborated with officers from the Fisheries Department and Police to visit the restaurant, however, he said, they were unable to catch them in the act on the day of their visit because owners of the eatery had ceased selling turtle meat.
"But we had warned the owners of the cafe to refrain from selling turtle meat and had also warned them of the repercussions of this illegal act," Mr Tamata said.
"It is sad to note that while our people in rural areas are adhering to the efforts in conserving our sea turtles, people in urban areas who are expected to know better are still progressing with the consumption of turtle meat despite the grave future of sea turtles.
"With the alleged case in Suva, we have left it with police to deal with the issue."
Mr Tamata warned those thinking of slaying turtles for their meat to refrain from doing so.
"Those caught selling or killing turtles will be taken to task as it is a very grave offence.
"People can now be charged under the Fisheries Act and pay a fine of $500 with three months imprisonment or both while they can also be fined to pay $2000 with five months imprisonment or both under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species.
"We are also requesting and pleading with members of the general public to please come forward with information if they do know of the illegal fishing of sea turtles."