Illegal take and trade was classified by the Marine Turtle Specialist Group of the IUCN as one of the five major hazards to marine turtles and is a constant threat to marine turtles worldwide. The issue is receiving increasing attention among international organizations.

A selection of examples and resources is provided below:

The synthesis paper "Illegal Take and Trade of Marine Turtles in the IOSEA Region" was prepared by the IOSEA Secretariat for the Seventh Meeting of IOSEA Signatory States (Bonn, Germany, September 2014). The paper examines the patterns and trends in illegal turtle take and trade in the IOSEA region since the year 2000 and reviews various studies and measures undertaken by governments, intergovernmental bodies and NGOs. The study considers all IOSEA Marine Turtles MOU Signatory States (35 countries) and some non-Signatories (Brunei Darussalam, China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore). It is the first analysis of this kind for the IOSEA region. An amended version of the paper, which included information from the Inter-American region was submitted to the 66th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) (Geneva, January 2016).

The Fact Sheet "Illegal trade and take of marine turtles in the Indian Ocean South East Asia region" was produced in March 2015 by the IOSEA Secretariat in cooperation with WWF. It is based on the conclusions of the IOSEA synthesis paper presented at the Seventh Meeting of IOSEA Signatory States (Bonn, September 2014).

The CITES-led study “Status, scope and trends of the legal and illegal international trade in marine turtles, its conservation impacts, management options and mitigation priorities” was prepared in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), in particular its IOSEA Marine Turtles MOU and the Secretariat of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC). It was tabled at CITES COP18 in 2019 (Document COP18 Inf. 18). The study examines take of and international trade in marine turtles in eight countries from three geographical sub-regions (East Africa, Caribbean and South-East Asia/Coral Triangle). Please refer to CMS/IOSEA/MOS8/Doc.10.1 on Illegal Take and Trade of Marine Turtles for an overview of the key findings and recommendations of this report with respect to the IOSEA region.

CMS Resolution 12.15 on Aquatic Wild Meat was adopted in 2017. It defines aquatic wild meat as the products derived from marine mammals, sea turtles and crocodiles, which are used for food or other purposes. With this Resolution, CMS Parties aim to improve the understanding of the extent and impact of wild meat harvests, including illegal harvest, on migratory species and to ensure that legal harvest for subsistence is sustainable, through building capacity. Furthermore, the Scientific Council of CMS will investigate the link between bycatch and aquatic wild meat harvest in pursuance of CMS COP Decisions 13.64 and 13.65, adopted in 2020. The Scientific Council will prepare a report on the extent to which bycatch becomes wild meat harvest with recommendations to the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) in 2023.

The CITES Illegal Trade Report is a mandatory report requested by the CITES Secretariat from CITES Parties on a yearly basis. The report is used for research on illegal trade in cooperation with the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC). In this report Parties include information on all seizures for violations involving CITES-listed species, including marine turtles, irrespective of whether the seizure was made at an international border, or at domestic level for example during the search of a private or business property or during inspections at domestic markets.

The CITES National Legislation Project in collaboration with UNEP helps countries and territories, upon their request, to strengthen their environmental governance to meet CITES requirements to combat illegal trade in wildlife.

The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) was formed as the collaborative effort of five inter-governmental organizations working to bring coordinated support to the national wildlife law enforcement agencies and to the sub-regional and regional networks that, on a daily basis, act in defense of natural resources. 

The UNEP Wild for Life campaign aims to raise the public’s awareness and understanding of the social, economic and environmental impacts of the illegal trade in wildlife with the help of famous influencers.