The 10TH Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) passed on third and final reading the bill that proposed to impose a moratorium on the killing and harvesting of Hawksbill turtles and to increase penalties for its unlawful takings or use.
Senate Bill 10-5, SD4, HD2 which was introduced by Senators John Skebong, Phillip Reklai, Rukebai Inabo, Stevenson Kuartei, Aric Nakamura, Mark Rudimch, and Kerai Mariur, amended Title 24 of the Palau National Code (PNC) and it prohibits the harvesting, taking, and killing of hawksbill turtle for 10 years after the act takes effect.
The use of any parts of the hawksbill turtle for the purpose of sale, trade, consumption, import or export, is also prohibited during the 10-year moratorium “except” for the existing use of the traditional “toluk” or women’s money already in circulation as of the date of enactment.
Aside from that, it also prohibits the taking and killing of any species of sea turtles whose shells does not reach at least 34 inches as measured lengthwise from over the top of the carapace shell. The taking of eggs of any sea turtles is also banned.
Any person found in violation of this will be penalized under the law. The penalty for the first conviction ranges from $250 to $1,000, a fine of $500 to $3,000 with a sentence of up to 30 days in jail for the second conviction, and a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 with a sentence of up to six months in jail on the third conviction. Any conviction after the third conviction will be fined in amount ranging $5,000 to $20,000 with one-year imprisonment.
People who will be caught possessing any jewelry made from any part of the hawksbill turtle during the moratorium is also considered a violator.
By the 9th year of the moratorium, the Ministry of Community and Culture and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, and Tourism will be tasked to “conduct a review of the hawksbill turtle and the traditional use and availability of toluk in Palau.” (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)[/restrict]