Endangered sea turtle and fish species have been released in Natuna waters in Riau Islands by Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti.

During the activity, Susi was accompanied by three ambassadors to Indonesia, namely Poland’s Beata Stoczyska, Armenia’s Dzuinik Aghajanian and Sweden’s Marina Berg.

“We released 19 green turtles, one hawksbill sea turtle and five Napoleon fish,” Susi said in a statement as quoted by on Monday.

The endangered animals were being held in captivity before they were rescued in several operations. The turtles were seized by the police from smugglers on April 19. A total of 118 turtles were found alive, while 30 were dead and nine others sick.

Meanwhile, the Napoleon fish were seized from fish traders in Natuna. 

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The acting director general of the ministry’s marine and fisheries resources monitoring division, Agus Suherman, said the Natuna traders gave the fish to the Natuna fisheries monitoring division to be released to the wild for conservation purposes.

Agus said Napoleon fish were not listed as critically endangered but faced the threat of extinction should trade of the species continue to go on uncontrolled.

A 2013 ministerial regulation on the limited protection status of Napoleon fish stipulates that Napoleon fish weighing 100 to 1,000 grams or above 3,000 grams are prohibited from being exploited. (gis/kes)