The hawksbill was prized for its shell, which was used in combs, brushes, fans and even furniture. In Japan, hawksbill shell is referred to as bekko. Now the hawksbill is listed under Appendix I in CITES, which means that trade for commercial purposes is banned.
Hawksbills are the largest vertebrate to feed on sponges, an interesting food choice, considering sponges contain a skeletal structure that may be made of silica (glass), as well as distasteful chemicals. In fact, humans have been poisoned by eating hawksbill meat.