Sea turtle consumption hazardous to your health

Sea turtles are frequently on the menu of coastal communities in countries where protein is a valuable commodity. Unfortunately, not only should sea turtle consumption be discouraged because all 7 sea turtle species are either critically endangered, endangered, or threatened, it should also be discouraged because the consumption of sea turtles may pose health risks to humans. The journal EcoHealth published an article in 2006 (Aguirre, A. A. et al. 2006. Hazards associated with the consumption of sea turtle meat and eggs: a review for health care workers and the general public. EcoHealth 3: 141–153) describing the dangers of consuming sea turtles. In its description of the article, the journal states:

SEA TURTLES STRIKE BACK

In some Latin American countries, there are cautionary horror tales told of wedding guests who die shortly after consuming the flesh of sea turtles. It turns out these tales are probably based on actual events, as Aguirre et al. detail the potentially deleterious and often lethal dangers of consumption of marine turtles and their eggs in their extensive review. Not only bacteria and parasites may be found in these bioaccumulating cheloniids, but also dangerously high levels of heavy metals and toxins. The authors urge for a coordinated, global educative effort to prohibit further human health hazards—which may, felicitously, aid in conservation of these ancient animals. Continue reading