Turtle expert Alvin Braswell said people have been trapping and eating snapping turtles for years.
"They don't like to be messed with," he said.
However in the past few years, trappers have targeted other turtles.
"We've had a large increase in the commercial turtle harvest going in North Carolina over the last three years -- an increase of about 5,000 percent," Braswell said. "It's primarily the Asian food trade and some pet trade."
As a result, a new law takes aim at commerical trappers harvesting several species. The problem is turtles are notoriously slow in everything they do, including reproduction.
"Turtles take a long time to grow and mature," Braswell said.
Braswell said he believes the new law will protect the turtles and give them a chance at a comeback.
"You don't want to let things get so bad that you have to list them as endangered or threatened before you have some protection coming in on them," he said.
Violation of the new turtle trapping law is a misdemeanor. First offenders face a $25 fine plus court costs.
Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.