CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department game wardens were called to Packery Channel Monday morning with reports of a dead sea turtle.
When game wardens arrived, they found a Green Sea Turtle with an arrow through its shell, and determined it was from a spear gun.
Game warden Lerrin Johnson said spear fishing is not uncommon in the area, and is legal for certain species, but not sea turtles.
“Obviously, there is no legal device to killing sea turtles. Most of the species we have around here are either threatened or endangered, it’s a big deal to us,” she said.
Green Sea Turtles are a threatened species in Texas, and the penalty for killing one is up to a $25,000 fine, and one year in prison.
“This is an extremely unusual occurrence, being that sea turtles have been protected for a very long time here in the United States, we don’t typically come across dead sea turtles who have been maliciously killed,” Johnson said.
Anyone with any information on the incident is asked to call TPWD at 1-800-792-GAME(4263). A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the conviction of the person(s) responsible.
“Folks come from all over the United States to see the turtles we have in our area, we’re very blessed to have such good population around here,” Johnson said. “So, we urge all Texans and all beachgoers and fisherman to help us protect this species from going extinct.”