Sea turtles played an important roll in the settlement of the Bay of Honduras, in what is today known as Belize. Hawskbill turtles were harvested for their shell while green and loggerhead turtles we captured for their meat and sent on ships transporting timber from Belize to Europe and the New World. Exportation of tortoiseshell and turtles were Belize's first fishery exports as early as the 1700s, but known statistics are only available for the 1800s.
1836 - 88 pounds of tortoiseshell*
1837 - 55 boxes of Tortoise shell*
1845 - 590 hides - 6 boxes Tortoise shell*
1865 - 16 packages of Tortoise shell, 1 to USA, 15 to UK*
The imports for 1845 listed 590 hides for 6 boxes, which roughly equates to 100 turtles per box! If the same box was used in 1837 then the number of hawksbill turtles exported could have been as many as 5500!
In the 1800s Belize was a hub for shipping in the region, as is shown by the number of imports of tortoise shell and turtle heads from neighboring countries.
*British Honduras Blue Book of Statistics 1836, 1837, 1845, 1865