Those tasked with protecting our natural environment have signalled that the turtle nesting season is underway.
From now until around November turtles will be nesting and hatching on beaches across the Cayman Islands. The Department of Environment is urging the public not to interfere with wild turtles, especially adult females, if they are spotted on the beaches, and also not to rake or cover turtle tracks, or tamper with turtle eggs in the nests.
We hope the public heeds this advice, as it is an offence to crush or excavate a nest with a vehicle or machinery, and any vehicle or machinery to be used on the beach must first obtain planning permission.
If anyone finds a turtle nest or track, we encourage you to report it to the DOE’s 24-hour hotline 938-NEST (938-6378). This number is used in all three islands.
As they make their way to shore and back out to sea, they can fall victim to poachers looking to make a quick buck on the local delicacy. We remind our readers that poaching sea turtles is a crime under the National Conservation Law. If anyone becomes aware of such illegal activity, they are asked to please immediately contact 911 or call the DoE’s Chief Conservation Officer Mark Orr at 916-4271.
Turtle meat can only be legally purchased from the Cayman Turtle Centre, formerly the Turtle Farm. Doing otherwise would be supporting criminal activity and working counter to measures implemented decades ago to stem the decline of turtles in the wild.
Turtle stew is a local delicacy enjoyed across the Cayman Islands but we encourage our readers to do the right thing and not only say no to poached turtle meat but to report those breaking the law to the DOW hotline we listed above.