Monday, 8 June 2009

A shameful practice - the plundering of Marine Turtle eggs

Towards the end my market excursion, I was horrified to spot these turtle eggs on sale, covered with a grubby piece of sackcloth and paraded shamelessly by a so-called 'fishmonger'. This despicable trade only pushes marine turtles of various species even closer to extinction, and further upsets the fragile marine ecosystems with which they co-exist. Riled by what I saw, my initial reaction was to protest and question the vendor, but as I was alone at the time, it felt safer and perhaps more appropriate to write about and spread awareness, however futile that may seem, or faint the message.
Turtle eggs are considered a delicacy in Central America, and particularly by men who have for many years consumed them raw as an aphrodisiac. ( I have included an advertising campaign commissioned by the Mexican government aimed at the men who eat the eggs, a message intended to dissuade turtle egg consumption by a beautiful young woman who decrees that the men in her life don't really need them). I'm not sure if this ad's rampant sexism and sexual objectification will solve this problem, but at some level I have to conclude that it is better than nothing. Witnessing the sale of such things saddens me to the core, as I feel that young turtles have a hard enough time surviving the oceans and marauding prey, to then have their chances of survival cut even further by pillaging human opportunists. Even adult turtles who can survive well into their seventies aren't safe from the nets of industrial trawlers that themselves damage marine ecosystems beyond comprehension.
Like any country or place you fall in love with, there are always dark sides that disturb us and make us want to ignore the fact of their very existence, things we prefer to turn a blind eye to. I feel this is something the Environmental Office of the Guatemalan Government should be policing, and harshly to stop this senseless trade - and I feel should perhaps wake up somewhat to the beauty and fragility of their awesome natural resources, as these riches are neither infinite nor expendable. The marine turtles native to Guatemala including the Olive Ridley Turtle that is now on The World Conservation Union's Endangered species list need all the help they can get, and deserve to be left well alone. There is a link to this post to the World Wildlife's webpage on turtles, should you wish to read more. I don't climb up onto my soapbox often enough, but I will be emailing a local office of the WWF to see if they have any influence in helping to stop this very damaging and foolish practice.


Fran said...

Hi Steven, I agree. Too often we can turn a blind eye to things like that, especially if we are travelling. True, as travellers we must be respectful of other cultures, however, there are means and ways of taking a stand. One of the most useful is to talk about it with others as you have done on your blog. It all helps to raise awareness. Public education is the most important, and yes that advertisement may be a tad sexist (in fact it's awful) it does serve to get the message across. Well done for speaking out!

PS am thoroughly enjoying your photographs! They are beautiful. You will love New Zealand, it's a photographer's dream :-)


Kato said...

Hi Steven,

Masterchef is on Belgian television now and tonight is the final. Me and my mother and brother never miss an episode. We didn't know who was going to win, but today I searched the internet and saw that you're the winner.
It's a pitty though as it won't be exciting any more tonight ;) But I always thought - even though the Hannah and Ben are good too - you were the absolute winner. So I'm glad I found out you did win.

I LOVE your cooking, I really do. I hope I can taste some of your dishes some day.

keep up the good work,

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