THE Fisheries Department has warned districts in Macuata Province that the slaying of turtles this festive season is illegal.
Speaking at the recent Macuata Provincial Council meeting, Labasa fisheries officer Epeli Tawake said there would be many functions happening in villages which could see the killing of turtles as part of traditional fete.
Mr Tawake said villagers who intend to kill turtles for any occasion should apply in writing to village heads who would write an accompanying witness letter to the provincial office that the turtle killing was for the said purpose.
"The letter will then be forwarded to the provincial office for their confirmation that the letter is from the said village head before it is forwarded to the Fisheries Department office," said Mr Tawake.
"We will forward the letter to either the permanent secretary or the minister for the department for their final endorsement."
"Many a times we hear of people slaying turtles anyhow and there is a need to stop this as our stock of turtles are diminishing at a rapid rate," he said.
Mr Tawake said the Fisheries Department would closely monitor all functions held in villages this festive season.