An American government fisheries biologist says traditional practices could help protect turtles, which are in continuing decline across the Pacific.
In the Northern Marianas, despite stricter laws, no one has ever been prosecuted.
Biologist Irene Kinan Kelly, a Sea Turtle Recovery Co-ordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says the best way to combat this problem is to re-instill traditional practices, along with proper enforcement.
While the full protection of sea turtles is guaranteed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, poaching is prevalent in the Pacific, including in the CNMI.
Green, hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles are included on the list of protected species under the Endangered Species Act and are known to inhabit the waters around the Marianas' archipelago.