Kudat MMEA crippled attempt to smuggle protected turtle meat and sea cucumber

KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) thwarted an attempt to smuggle over RM200,000 worth of dried meat, believed to be turtles, and sea cucumber out of the country during an operation in the waters off Kudat on Sunday (July 7).

Under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, Sabah prohibits commercial exploitation of marine turtles and their eggs.

Kudat maritime zone director, maritime commander Maurice Grenville Abeyeratne, said they had acted on a public tip-off that a boat was spotted conducting suspicious activities in the eastern coastal area of Tanjung Kalutan Beach at around 5pm.

He said following this, an operation was mobilised to track the boat.

"When approached, the boat operator fled towards shallow waters to avoid being detained.

"Our raiding team found 23 sacks of dried turtle meat, estimated to weigh 160kg and 52 sacks of dried sea cucumber, weighing approximately 500kg, which were thrown out from the boat," he said in a media statement on Wednesday (July 10).

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, Maurice said they detained two locals, aged 17 and 27, and seized a boat without a registration number and their catch after they were found to have committed several offences about 1.85 nautical miles southeast of Tagumamal Laut, Kudat, on Saturday (July 6).

"Both suspects will be investigated under the Fisheries Act and the Sabah Ports and Harbors Enactment for not having a fishing licence and using unauthorised equipment," he said.

He urged the public to assist the MMEA by reporting any criminal activities through its operations centre at 088-611 858 and the MERS 999 line, which operates 24 hours.

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MMEA , smuggle , turtle meat , sea cucumber


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