A man has been fined almost $10,000 for caging endangered green turtle hatchlings.
Mohamed Musthafa from the island of Maakurathu in Raa atoll was fined MVR149,000 ($9,600), the first penalty of its kind imposed for caging the creatures.
Five out of the seven species of sea turtle are found in the Maldives. Green turtles are among the most common and are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list as an endangered species.
In August, environment officials and police conducted an operation to free the hatchlings.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) later issued a statement saying they were investigating the case.
An EPA spokesperson told Maldives Independent the fine was issued under the regulation to compensate for and set fines for damages to the environment.
The Maldives banned the killing, fishing and harvesting of all species of turtles in 1995 for a 10-year period, followed by legal protections including a ban on exploitation of all turtle species in 2016.
According to the Marine Research Center, keeping turtles, particularly turtle hatchlings in captivity, is regarded as a form of exploitation.
In December last year, the EPA fined a Maldivian man MVR111,500 (US$7,200) for capturing and keeping protected birds in his backyard on the island of Dhonfanu in Baa Atoll.
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