Almost two-thirds of the 465 respondents to the most recent caycompass.com online poll believe the sale of turtle meat should continue in the Cayman Islands.
The largest segment of respondents (184 people or 38.7 per cent) believe limited amounts should be sold to restaurants and households, which is the system currently in place.
‘It is better to sell farmed meat than the alternative of illegal harvesting,’ said one respondent. ‘Better to protect turtles and history than to exploit nature.’
One respondent suggested a lottery quota system to keep distribution fair.
Another 84 people (17.6 per cent) thought as much turtle as could be supplied should be sold to whoever wanted to buy it.
‘This is our national dish. Why should it be banned from locals buying it?’ commented one person.
‘Sell as much as there is, consistent with species growth concerns, at whatever price the market sets,’ responded someone else. Keep raising the price until demand meets supply.’
One respondent was shocked by the suggestion of banning the sale of turtle meat.
‘Stop the sale of turtle meat? Man, that’s like asking the Arabs to stop selling oil!’
Forty-one people (8.6 per cent) thought only limited amounts of turtle meat should be sold to households only, as suggested recently by Boatswain’s Beach and Cayman Turtle Farm Chief Operating Officer and Action Managing Director Joey Ebanks.
‘If we keep selling the amount we are selling, we won’t have any turtle meat left,’ commented one person.
‘Reduce supply to allow for a 20-percent annual growth in turtle population,’ said someone else.
One person expressed disagreement specifically with Mr. Ebanks’ suggestion.
‘There are many Caymanians who want to be able to order turtle at a restaurant because they don’t have time to cook,’ said another person.
Almost one-third of the respondents (156 or 32.8 per cent) thought the sale of turtle meat should be banned entirely.
‘Turtles should be protected,’ said one person.
‘The keeping of turtle in tanks at the Turtle Farm is inhumane and it is an act to be ashamed of, and to make matters worse, we show it to the tourists,’ said another respondent.
Eleven people (2.3 per cent) said they didn’t know what Cayman’s policy on the sale of turtle meat should be.