Turtles still at risk despite record year

| 23/09/2020 | 15 Comments
Cayman News Service
Baby green turtle emerges from a nest and heads to the sea

(CNS): This year’s turtle nesting season may be a record-breaking year for the number of nests but experts at the Department of Environment are reminding residents that there are still a number of preventable threats for turtles, particularly artificial lighting, which lures the babies as they hatch away from the relative safety of the sea to the dangers of pools, roads and death.

However, as the season stretches on this year, it is proving to be “very promising” and turtles have been laying many eggs, the DoE said on social media. In one deep nest discovered recently researchers watched the babies still emerging five days after the first hatchlings came out.

Following a directive from the National Conservation Council last month, the DoE has implemented an interim protective order to protect critical nesting habitat for turtles in specific parts of Seven Mile Beach. This will force the Central Planning Authority (CPA) to act on the advice of the DoE regarding turtle mitigating strategies for beachfront development, especially lighting, but it has few powers yet to enforce existing properties to change their lights.

Nevertheless, several condo owners and strata have done so anyway, and the department commended “those wonderful properties that are turtle champions and who have changed their lighting to turtle friendly lights”.

The lighting is not only beautiful but helps the turtle babies follow their natural path to the sea and, hopefully, grow big enough to one day come back to our shores and nest, the DoE research team said.

Anyone who sees a turtle nest is asked to send a WhatsApp message with locations and photos to the Turtle Hotline: 938-6378.

Anyone who witnesses poaching or interference with turtles is urged to contact the DoE conservation officers at 916-4271 or call 911.

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (15)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Turtle steak soon come.

    • Anonymous says:

      Then don’t bitch and moan when they are all gone.

      Also, with the way they are farmed I bet one gets a virus and then the world shuts down because some idiot in Cayman ate a turtle.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Green turtles have been afforded legislative protection under a number of treaties and laws (e.g., Navid 1982, Humphrey and Salm 1996, Fleming 2001, Fretey 2001). Among the more globally relevant designations are those of Endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN; Baillie and Groombridge 1996, Hilton-Taylor 2000); Annex II of the SPAW Protocol to the Cartagena Convention (a protocol concerning specially protected areas and wildlife); Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Speciesof Wild Fauna and Flora); and Appendices I and II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). A partial list of the International Instruments that benefit green turtles includes the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia (IOSEA), the Memorandum of Understanding on ASEAN Sea Turtle Conservation and Protection, the Memorandum of Agreement on the Turtle Islands Heritage Protected Area (TIHPA), and the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Conservation Measures for Marine Turtles of the Atlantic Coast of Africa.
    As a result of these designations and agreements, many of the intentional impacts directed at sea turtles have been lessened: harvest of eggs and adults has been slowed at several nesting areas through nesting beach conservation efforts and an increasing number of community-based initiatives are in place to slow the take of turtles in foraging areas. In regard to incidental take, the implementation of Turtle Excluder Devices has proved to be beneficial in some areas, primarily in the United States and South and Central America (National Research Council 1990). However, despite these advances, human impacts continue throughout the world. The lack of effective monitoring in pelagic and near-shore fisheries operations still allows substantial direct and indirect mortality, and the uncontrolled development of coastal and marine habitats threatens to destroy the supporting ecosystems of long-lived green turtles.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cayman could quintuple its turtle births and these turtles would still be endangered. We shouldn’t be eating any of them. Shouldn’t be on the menu at all – and it’s really worrying that still needs to be explained to everyone.

    The Turtle Farm abattoir, like cigarette manufacturers, and other anti-social industries, should be required by law to furnish every buyer of any quantity of our subsidized meat with an educational DOE information leaflet that explains the state of the global “fishery” of the species, that they are protected species, the lifetime tourism value of each live turtle in its natural habitat, the necessity to wean-off and not eat the meat at all, the penalties for poaching, and the numbers/reward of reporting any poaching in progress.

    There is no political willingness to condition-out to more responsible diet/habits. That laziness costs us >$100,000,000 per decade in direct public subsidized losses.

    This should be taught in the schools too. Duh.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no global fishery of the species.

      The (majority of the) turtles at the Farm are not going to somehow magically end up in the wild if the Farm were not breeding them for meat (because they wouldn’t exist in the first place, i.e., the Farm wouldn’t be there).

      There is no necessity to wean off eating turtle meat. (Necessity means don’t do it or die, i.e., necessary. Not the less critical meaning you seem to be ascribing to the word.)

      Your push to shut the Farm down would have more traction if you could make logical, cogent and honest arguments. As it is you come off as someone easily ignored which means that any valid points you do (almost) make are easily ignored. If you want to stop failing apply more rationality to your life.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thought it was a “centre”?

      • Anonymous says:

        What a dumb response!
        Of course the turtles would be there, if the farm were truly a Conservation centre of excellence and the very highest of standards maintained.
        Before you berate others, look at your own illogical argument and think of the alternative to breeding turtles for meat.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s an illegal fishery and egg poaching even in Cayman – one which most Caymanians would participate in if the farm weren’t there.

        • Anonymous says:

          But by your own post MOST Caymanians don’t. (And by your logic because of the Farm, so the Farm is working. Right?)

    • Anonymous says:

      A large portion of survey respondents say that nothing will stop them from eating turtle, and that they will eat poached turtle if they can’t get it from the farm.

      I like your idea. It’s so hard to change people’s minds.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do understand that all meat produced at the farm is raised in captivity? No wild turtle is butchered at the farm.

      • Anonymous says:

        You couldn’t be more wrong. Those turtles originated from eggs stolen from our beach nests over a series of years because after move across the road post-Michelle, there was no successful breading of turtles or even pretend turtle release efforts. There is no science or conservation, going on. It’s an embarrassing international abomination. Nothing more than an endangered green sea turtle abattoir. It seems some Caymanians would have ate the very last Dodo if they could, just to say they did.

        Note the last year of assessment was 2014:

        • Anonymous says:

          Wrong. No wild turtle eggs were taken into Farm production after Michelle. And I challenge you to produce any scrap of evidence of your spurious claim.

          • Anonymous says:

            There was a herd of 355 breeding turtles before Michelle. The 90 breeders that were left after Hurricane Michelle were kept in holding tanks during 2002 and consequently there was no nesting that year.

            Nesting slowly resumed at a much lower level for the next 4 years.

            As of January 2011, there were approximately 290 female turtles and 72 male turtles in the Breeding Pond and approximately 5000 turtles in total at the Centre. It’s unclear how many were hatched at the centre versus stolen from beach nests. There are no stats after 2011.

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