We are delighted that after a two year campaign calling for the Cayman Turtle Farm to end the farming of endangered green sea turtles for meat, the Cayman Islands Government is now beginning to publicly address some of our concerns.
The Cayman Turtle Farm is the last remaining sea turtle farm in the world, with over 9,500 endangered green sea turtles which are bred to meet a perceived demand for local turtle meat.
We believe the Farm has lost its original sense of purpose and is now seriously undermining the health and welfare of sea turtles farmed on its premises. The Farm brings potentially devastating impacts on the wild sea turtle populations and marine biodiversity, whilst operating at a significant economic cost to Caymanians.
Our research has shown that there are clear pragmatic steps which should be taken in the short-term in order to bring about an eventual transition into a rehabilitation and release facility including:
- ending the controversial and costly release of sea turtles bred at the Farm
- ending the promotion and sale of turtle meat to tourists who visit the Cayman Islands
- understanding the true scale of Caymanian demand for turtle meat
Open to Change
We were recently in the Cayman Islands to speak directly with the Cayman Islands Government, specifically the Department for the Environment and the Department for Tourism about these recommendations.
The Government were receptive to these ideas for change and as a result agreed to produce a joint statement with us that highlights concerns over current practices at the Farm, and plans to address these via the implementation of detailed research. The statement also announces the suspension of the controversial turtle-release programme and will look further at ways to end the promotion of the sale of meat to tourists.
You can read the full joint statement here
WSPA Head of International Wildlife Research and Policy, Dr Neil D’Cruze said “WSPA is delighted to hear that the Cayman Islands Department of Environment has secured UK funding to investigate the true level of demand for turtle meat and the impact of releasing farmed turtles in the Cayman Islands.
It is clear that the information generated by this study will greatly inform effective decision making regarding the long-term future of the Farm including the possibility of a transition into a rehabilitation and release facility."
Dr D’Cruze added, “We also applaud the Cayman Islands Government for working with us in such a positive manner to identify critical short term steps that can be taken to help alleviate some of the the immediate concerns at the Farm. Specifically, we welcome the news that there will be no more turtle releases from the Farm until the conclusions of this study are made available and that various stakeholders will explore how to limit the promotion of sea turtle meat to visiting international tourists.”
We will continue to call for the Cayman Turtle Farm to transition into a rehabilitation and release facility for sea turtles in the Caribbean.
For more, visit stopseaturtlefarm.org