Turtle eggs for sale – Legal?

When I was in Terengganu at the Pasar Payang or Central Market, I found many stalls selling turtle eggs by the tens. Most of my photos aren’t clear here because I feel bad taking the photos of these eggs. I am not sure if it is legal to sell them but I suppose so because the eggs seem to be so common there.

Each egg is selling for RM1.60 and the eggs are sold in packets of tens at RM16. Business is brisk.

See? The eggs are as common as kacang putih (nuts). I asked some people who bought these eggs how the eggs taste like. The stall owner said it is best boiled for 15 minutes (not more, not less) and it will be runny like half boiled chicken eggs.

My toddler who looked sleepy in his pajamas, finding the soft shell amusing.

*sigh* I don’t know if these are the protected species. I guess not. If you are interested to learn more about the leatherback turtles conservation, do check out Pelf’s blog. She is one dedicated young lady saving the terrapins leatherbacks. Thumbs up to Pelf. And thanks Pelf for helping me to get the hotel rooms! Appreciate that very much. I owe you one Penang Char Koay Teow.


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17 Replies to “Turtle eggs for sale – Legal?”

  1. This is so stupid.. they are trying to get 16 bucks for 10 eggs.. when each turtule will bring 160 ringgit in tourism money. penny wise pound foolish..

    poor turtles.. 🙁

  2. I’m not sure about those in Terengganu, but over here in Sandakan its illegal. Anyone found selling will be fined RM 30,000.00 and yet near the wet market, you’ll have people (mostly Philippinos) approaching you and giving you the “OK” sign to represent the round turtle eggs. Price is about the same as you mentioned. Used to sell at 20 sen per egg but then that was when i was just a kiddo and it wasn’t illegal then. Its eaten with black soy sauce and a dash of pepper…and it looks like phlegm…uurrrggghhh!!!

    There was a time when some Royalties requested my boss to buy turtle eggs (illegal) for them and have them flown all the way to Semenanjung!!

  3. The turle eggs above are imported from Sabah, they are green turtle eggs not leatherbacks, I think this was highlighted in our local papers a few weeks back.

    It seems that its illegal to sell it in Sabah, but they are allowed to ship it and sell it in Terrenganu where it is completely legal to sell green turtle eggs.

  4. (1) Turtle eggs have been banned from collection and consumption in Sabah since 1976. Those eggs secretly sold in Sandakan are actually from the Philippines Turtle Islands – it takes them very long to smuggle them back to their mainland, that’s why they smuggle the eggs into Sandakan. I know because I was sponsored to do a research about it by the University of California.

    (2a) Those eggs found in Terengganu – it is very difficult to tell whether they’re legal. In Terengganu, turtle eggs cannot be collected from beaches that have been gazetted as sanctuaries. But on nesting beaches that are not gazetted, anybody can do anything they want if they saw turtle eggs.

    (2b) The collection and consumption of leatherback eggs have been banned, but not green turtle eggs.

  5. Hey… the turtle eggs aren’t legal. The species have been protected under Malaysian law due to the extinction of these turtles.
    Really, these people selling the eggs should be caught!

  6. ImperfectlyMe: What species are you referring to? So far, only leatherback eggs are banned. Green turtle eggs can still be sold openly in the market. Like I mentioned earlier, ONLY the collection of eggs from turtle sanctuaries have been banned. Which means, the collection of eggs from beaches that are NOT gazatted are still legal.

    But the good news is that the decision-makers and scientists are now drafting the “National Policy on Turtles” and hopefully all egg collection and consumption will be banned before it is too late.

    At the national level, two Acts serve as the primary legislation for the protection of wildlife and fisheries:

    (a) The Protection of Wild Life Act 1972 — applicable only in peninsular Malaysia, affords protection to wild animals listed in its seemingly exhaustive schedules of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. Inexplicably absent from these indices are all species of turtles, terrapins and tortoises found in Malaysia.

    (b) The Fisheries Act 1985 — includes turtles — for conservation, management and development — with the condition that each state in the peninsula draw up rules and regulations regarding turtles and inland fisheries. Currently, only six states in Peninsular Malaysia (Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan) have legislation related to the exploitation, licensing for egg collection and possesion or killing of marine turtles.

  7. 5-eks-mom: All terrapins are turtles, but not all turtles are terrapins 🙂

    “Turtle” is a general term that can be applied to all reptiles which have a shell. Terrapins include all species living in freshwater, be it hard or soft shelled and tortoises usually refer to terrestrial turtles 🙂

  8. Yes, the plight of the poor turtles was highlighted in our local papers not too long ago. I hope they banned the selling of all turtle eggs soon. Ridiculous to ban it in Sabah but allow it in peninsular Msia.

  9. It’s illegal, Should not buy it because it’s a protected species. There is a tutle farm in terengganur own by the gov to protect those turtle, why the gov did know the illegal selling of turtle egg in a open public area. Maybe you should contact some tv3 or ntv 7 siasat go find it out. Protect the turle for our future generation!!!

  10. EatLaH:

    (a) ONLY leatherback eggs are illegal (I am repeating this MANY times already). Eggs of the other three species are still legal – and that is why a National Action Plan on Turtles is being drafted now.

    (b) Is it possible for you to tell me the location of the turtle farm that you claimed is owned by the State government? Because as far as I am concerned, there is NO SUCH farms.

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