Three Men Charged for Illegally Selling, Harvesting and Buying 2100 Pounds of Freshwater Turtles

Three Men Charged for Illegally Selling, Harvesting and Buying 2100 Pounds of Freshwater Turtles

In 2009, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission banned the harvesting of all local wild turtles for commercial purposes.

But in Lakeland Florida, three men were charged for illegally selling, harvesting and buying 2100 pounds of freshwater turtles. As per wildlife officials, people can harvest freshwater turtles if they see them in the wild and do so for recreational basis and not for commercial reasons.

Investigators in Polk and Seminole counties caught the men poaching turtles. The men had to sell the turtles to a farm in Okeechobee. The men were charged on the counts of multiple felonies and misdemeanors.

"Turtles are a popular, commercially available food item throughout much of the world and, as a result, overharvest has occurred in many countries", affirmed FWC's Lt. George Wilson.

Wilson was of the view that they expect their efforts to protect wild turtles do not go waste. People get an opportunity to see freshwater turtles in the wild and harvest them for recreation purposes.

Franklin Gene Harden (DOB 11/28/58) of 3403 SW 26 Ave., Okeechobee, owner of the turtle farm, has been charged with three felonies and four misdemeanors. Other two men who have been arrested were FWC arrested Canh Van Nguyen and Lieng Su Pham.

Wilson said one of the main reasons for the overharvesting is that turtles are popular and commercially available food item across the world. Owing to this reason, overharvesting has been taking place in a number of countries.

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