U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement provided seized carapaces that had been traded illegally, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (USFWS permit TE-72088A-0) collected stranded hawksbill sea turtle carapaces. Whole carapace specimens (n = 58) ranged from 4- to 89-cm SCL, across all demographics from emergent hatchlings to breeding adults. USFWS provided one additional single seizure of ~65 kg of stacked disaggregated scutes confiscated in 1988 in a shipment from the Caribbean to the United States. Nine published accounts (30, 4855) and Japanese Customs archives provided records of tortoiseshell shipments from 1844 to 1992, when Japan ended their exemption to the CITES ban on international trade (dataset S1). Records contained the year, mass of tortoiseshell shipped, source country or region, destination country or countries, ocean basin, and citation source. We curated records to remove duplicate import and export records that often occurs as a result of reexport (table S1).

To ensure that data were not double-counted, if import and export data existed in same year, the smaller value was discarded. If there were multiple values noted as import or export in the same year, then the smaller value was assumed to be a subset of the larger value and discarded. To account for reexport, we (i) discarded all export data from the following known reexporters: Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea; (ii) discarded data from European countries, USA, and Canada after 1950, with the assumption that these data were recorded at the original point of export; (iii) discarded data from countries with freshwater turtles (Zambia, Laos). For European countries before 1950, we reattributed turtles to source basins based on their colonial holdings (table S1). From 1882 to 1887, Japanese Customs data recorded imports from the India, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia as the “East Indies.” Beginning in 1888, Thailand was categorized separately from the East Indies but contained no records. Starting in 1889, each country’s exports were recorded separately, and the recorded values from India were comparable to those from the East Indies before 1888, while the other East Indies countries contributed insignificantly. This pattern indicated the records from the East Indies before 1888 largely originated from India and attributed as such.

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