The killing of adult sea turtles, those that lay the eggs for generations of turtles to exist, has a serious and profound impact on populations. It has been suggested by scientists that the adult stage turtles are the most important to protect to ensure the survival of the species. Adult sea turtles in Central America are killed by both their direct harvest and the incidental drowning in industrial fishing operations.
On the Atlantic coast of Central America, green turtles are eaten for food. It is estimated that 10,000 are harvested in Nicaragua, another 6,000 in Costa Rica, and 8,000 in Panama.
On the Pacific coast, people do not eat turtles, they only take the eggs. However, about 60,000 olive ridleys are killed each year by commercial shrimpers, and an unknown, but potentially devastating, number of turtles that are caught by industrial longliners. Countries with long line fleets on the Pacific are Costa Rica and Guatemala.