The Turtle Farm (now Boatswain’s
Beach) was under the Ministry of Mr. John McLean and he was the chairman of the
board from the year 1992 to 2000 during which it was profitable.
During this period the Turtle Farm
made a profit in most years of about $50,000 to $150,000. The turtle herd was
about 20,000 on average and reproductive and necessary scientific research was
carried out and turtle meat was sufficient and cost a fraction of the $15 per
pound at present.
The sad situation now and during
the last PPM Government’s reign is a large loss, which recently is said to be
about $9 million per annum and the turtles reduced to about 6,000 partly
because of the turtles’ failure to reproduce sufficiently. The recent triple
price increase to $15 per pound has priced turtle meat beyond the average local
person’s means and lost the farm a lot of local goodwill. The savings on this
price increase is estimated at $170,000 per annum, which if achieved is only a
drop in the bucket to the $9,000,000- annual loss.
The turtle stew sales will
substantially fall, and the savings will not be met. The same mistake was made
by too high an entrance fee. Two lessons for Government to learn: Government
should not go into a business that the private sector can do as Government
usually makes a loss and you can increase entrance and meat prices but you
cannot make people accept them.
The name Turtle Farm was a tourist
attraction with 40 years of goodwill. Why was it changed to Boatswain’s Beach?
Most tourists and locals will visit a turtle farm (which is unique in the
world) for a small fee but few want to swim in artificial water tanks for a
high fee when they can swim at the Seven Mile Beach free.
We recommend that the Government
considers selling or leasing the non turtle facilities or phasing it down to
reduce the losses and return to a turtle farm and hopefully a profit again. We
suggest that the turtles’ feed be evaluated by the producers, which may assist
with the reproduction problem. On the funny side, from these savings they
should return to $5 per pound for turtle meat and put reproduction tablets in
the turtles’ feed to help make them more reproductive.
Caymanians and the turtles will then be happy