Abdallah Hussein Kombo, the Minister for Fisheries and Blue Economy, said here yesterday that the measure comes due to the threat posed by the type of foods they eat that create poison in their bodies, harming those consuming the fish.
The minister was explaining the ministry’s development initiatives in the fishing sector and blue economy, where he referred to research on the problem that has discovered that turtles have turned to eating sea algae, grasses containing various poisons and could be fatal to humans when consumed.
Incidents of deaths of several people towards this year’s end have instilled fear among Isles residents such that the government has to issue a formal directive to stop fishing turtles.
For a long time the government has been implementing international maritime resolutions requiring an end to the fishing of turtles as an endangered species, but had not been enforced for small scale fishing for localised purposes, but after 17 people died from eating turtle meat, the picture had changed.
“We have witnessed the deaths of 17 people at Tumbe in Pemba and three at Matemwe in Unguja due to eating turtle meat,” he affirmed, noting that turtles were being fished in substantial numbers for human consumption.
Dr Khalid Salum Mohamed, the Minister of State in the Second Vice President’s Office who visited some of the victims’ families, said all fishermen understand that there are types of turtles that are not for human consumption, despite that a range of others are edible.
“But due to changes in their eating habits, those are now also poisonous,” he added.