People who live near the shore have always hunted sea turtles to help feed their families. A fisherman might harpoon a sea turtle and take it home to eat. Groups of men netted sea turtles when they rose to breathe and brought them back to their villages for food. For years, when sea turtles were plentiful, such hunting seemed to have little effect on the numbers of turtles. But the demand for sea turtles kept growing.
Money could be earned hunting and selling sea turtles. Money could be earned selling things made from turtles. Turtle hunting became profitable.So hunters took hundreds of turtles from the sea and even from the land, when they were nesting. Fewer and fewer sea turtles were left until they were almost all gone. Laws now protect sea turtles and forbid trade in turtle products. But not everyone obeys these laws.