A special task force will be formed to investigate on the flagrant trading, killing and selling of protected sea turtles after roadside restaurants in Cebu were reported to be serving the endangered animal’s meat.

The Philippine government was alarmed at the depletion rate of the sea turtles. Regional environment chief Maximo Dichoso said that, “the task force has been created to pursue and initiate an aggressive protection and conservation movement of the endangered marine turtles which are no on the verge of total depletion”.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama claimed that sea turtle meat has been used in dishes for a long time now, and efforts failed to materialize to put an end to it. A fine of 100,000 pesos ($2,350) and one year in jail will be charged to those who are caught in the illegal act.

Several Chinese fishermen were allegedly catching sea turtles and other marine animals near the waters of Scarborough Shoal and triggered a standoff between the two claimants of the islands in the South China Sea.