An incident where a green turtle was speared was reported to the Fisheries Department in Lami early yesterday morning.
The endangered turtle, according to fisheries officer Kolinio Naivalu, was speared by some fishermen in Naselai and given to a boat owner in Lokia to be kept in a fridge.
Mr Naivalu said a relative of a police officer reported the incident to the Lokia Police Station which then alerted the Fisheries Department at Wainibokasi in Nausori.
He said officials from there then referred the case to the Fisheries Department in Lami.
"The turtle is wounded in the head and our main priority is to help it recover quickly so it can be released," Mr Naivalu said.
Senior research officer Sunia Waqainabete said it was sad to see that even though there was a ban on turtles from 2009 to 2018, people were still killing them.
"Under the CITES — Conservation of Trade for Endangered Species — a person caught to be breaching the law can be jailed for a period of five years or a fine of $20,000 can be charged," said Mr Waqainabete.
He said this time of the year was the spawning time for the turtles.
"Turtles take about 30 to 50 years to reproduce before they reach maturity," Mr Waqainabete said.
"We would like to advise the public to refrain from spearing turtles as it disrupts the ecosystem," he said.
He urged the public to respect the life of the species and follow the law.
"Save the turtles for the future generation," Mr Waqainabete said. He said it was really sad to see marine species wounded because of men's actions.