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April 13, 2011

Archbishop of Acapulco: It's a Sin to Eat Sea Turtles

Three thousand temples called to protect the environment.

Acapulco, April 2011 - The Archbishop of Acapulco, Carlos Garfias Merlos urged the public not to consume sea turtle eggs and meat, because these species are endangered. The Archbishop is joining this year’s awareness campaign during Lent in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, where an estimated 40 percent of sea turtle nests are poached and 30 percent of specimens are killed and sold on the black market.

The Archbishop Garfias Merlos, distributed the environmental message to 500 priests of 3000 parishes and chapels of the coasts of Guerrero, to join the campaign led by the environmental organization WiLDCOAST/COSTASALVAjE A. C., and to call on the people of Guerrero to avoid looting sea turtle eggs and turtle specimens.
"We would like to invite everyone, especially during Lent season, to refrain from eating sea turtle egg and meat because they are an endangered species and also because sea turtle meat is red meat,” the Archbishop said in Sunday’s homily.
As a warning, the Catholic leaders of Acapulco said that "we must remember that capturing, selling, purchasing, consuming or sharing sea turtle eggs and meat may well be a sin, because the extinction of this species threatens our marine environment," from the pulpit, Garfias Merlos said that "If we cause the break of the food chain in the ocean because of the extinction of sea turtles, in short time it will cause an explosion of jellyfish population that would make the beaches unsafe for tourists and beachgoers and the tourist and fishery industry would plummet.”
The statement of Archbishop Garfias Merlos, also announced by Chancellor of the Archbishop Juan Carlos Flores Rivas, stated "the environmental organization WiLDCOAST/COSTASALVAjE A. C. works to preserve and protect coastal ecosystems and endangered species like sea turtles."
Natalia Parra del Angel, WiLDCOAST/COSTASALVAjE Coordinator, explained that four different species of sea turtles arrive in the beaches of Guerrero, all endangered, according to the official Mexican Norm 059-2001.  Two of the four species, the hawksbill and leatherback, are critically endangered of extinction.
Parra del Angel, explained that according to reports from environmental authorities, the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas and sea turtle camps in Guerrero, for every 100 nests laid on beaches, 40 are looted and 2 out of 10 sea turtles are killed.