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Arkansas Considers Ban On Commercial Harvesting Of Wild Turtles

July 2, 2018




In response to a letter from concerned scientists urging the state of Arkansas to ban commercial trapping of wild freshwater turtles, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission is reviewing the proposal to ban turtle harvesting. 

softshell turtle

gracious_tiger/Shutterstock

The majority of turtles harvested in Arkansas from 2014 to 2016 were of breeding age.
 

“Scientists and the world’s top turtle experts agree that Arkansas needs to ban commercial turtle trapping,” Elise Bennett, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney said in a statement released by the center. “The commercial trapping ban will help ensure turtles are swimming through Arkansas’ waters for future generations to enjoy.”


American Softshell Turtles


Currently the state permits commercial trappers to take an unlimited number of 14 species of turtles across roughly half the state, according to the Texarkana Gazette. And from 2014-2016, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 126,381 freshwater turtles were reported to have been taken, the majority of which were of breeding age. These reptiles often end up on dinner tables throughout China and other areas in Asia, where their own turtle populations have been depleted. 

The game and fish commission is currently accepting public comments up until it makes a final decision on whether to ban commercial trapping of the reptiles on August 16. If you wish to make a comment, you can do so by mailing your letter to Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Attn: Fisheries Division, 2 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205. 

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