Petitions for stingrays, turtles started

Legendary Beatles signer backs turtle petition

Public efforts aimed at protecting the lives of the Cayman Islands’ two most iconic forms of marine wildlife have begun after shocking reports in recent weeks regarding the apparent kidnapping and mistreatment of those animals.  

The first petition, launched by Guy Harvey, asks the government to immediately put the National Conservation Law into effect; thereby ensuring that stingrays will be protected in all of Cayman’s territorial waters, not only in designated Wildlife Interaction Zones.  

The second, started by the United Kingdom-based World Society for the Protection of Animals, seeks support to end commercial farming of green sea turtles at “the last sea turtle farm on Earth” – referring to the Cayman Turtle Farm in Grand Cayman.  

Mr. Harvey’s petition can be found by clicking here.  

The WSPA petition is located here.


Save the stingrays  

Mr. Harvey said that two zones within Grand Cayman’s North Sound – known as Stingray City and the Sandbar – are the only protected zones for the rays.  

Within the last few weeks, four stingrays tagged for study were found at Dolphin Discovery and later released into the wild. However, Mr. Harvey said six other stingrays remain in captivity at the facility.  

“The well-being of stingrays affects every single person in the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Harvey said, adding that some 500,000 people each year interact with the creatures in their natural environment within the North Sound.  

The petition seeks to obtain 10,000 signatures.  

The Guy Harvey Research Institute, based at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, conducted a stingray census in January 2012 and “sampled” only 61 rays at the Sandbar area, which it said represented a 38 per cent decrease in the rays since a similar count was done in 2008.  

This summer, Georgia Aquarium staff returned to the Sandbar with the research institute and sampled 57 rays at the Sandbar, with only five males.  

“The low number of males generally is cause for concern,” Mr. Harvey said. “These iconic animals have given so much to benefit the Cayman Islands that it’s time the government returned the favour.”  


Turtle trouble  

A range of animal welfare issues uncovered during an 18-month “investigation” at the Cayman Turtle Farm by the WSPA led to its call to end commercial harvesting of green sea turtles.  

The animal rights group clarified a position it claimed was misstated by Turtle Farm representatives last week, that WSPA wished to shutter the tourism and research facility. “The commercial production of sea turtles cannot be done humanely,” the WSPA wrote in a recent statement. “It has unproven conservation benefits, represents a potential threat to human health and is of unproven economic viability.  

“Other former turtle farms have changed their practice. For example, Kelonia has transitioned from a turtle farm to become a world leading turtle education and research centre.”  

The WSPA said its research, aided by open records requests made by United Kingdom Member of Parliament Greg Knight, revealed that more than 300 turtles at the Cayman Turtle Farm have died each year between 2007 and 2011.  

“This is far greater than the 11 known Cayman Turtle Farm tagged sea turtles that have been recorded nesting on Grand Cayman beaches,” the group noted, citing FOI data given to Mr. Knight.  


Sir Paul backs WSPA  

One of the supporters of the turtle farming ban effort is legendary Beatles front-man Paul McCartney.  

On his weblog, Mr. McCartney has attached links to the WSPA webpage on the subject and urged volunteers to support the groups efforts.  

“Paul has lent his support to the World Society for the Protection of Animals’ (WSPA) campaign to stop turtle farming in the Cayman Islands,” the site states. “The Cayman Turtle Farm is the last place on Earth that breeds endangered sea turtles for food.” 

Sir Macca

Sir Paul McCartney


  1. Wow! Isn’t it easy to be generous with other people’s money.maybe Sir Paul can donate a couple of million to pay for all this.

    So the WSPA would liike the sale of turtle meat to be stopped. How exactly will they pay their bills and staff then?

    When a sea turtle lays eggs on a beach about 1 in one thousand end up as adults.
    Not all the eggs hatch.
    When they hatch their are flocks of predators who gather just to pick off the babies on their short walk to the sea.
    Once in the water yet more die or are eaten. But this apparently is OK as it is nature.

    Of course the attrition rate is vastly less in the controlled environment of the turtle farm.

    But if 300 sea turtles die over a four year period, out of many thousands, there is an outcry. Please.

    My complaint with the turtle farm is that it is too boring.

    Time to cull some of the over-crowded pools or let tourists (and locals) release them for say 100 a pop.

    Next raise some extra revenue by selling annual memberships to the Botswain Beach facility.

  2. Sir Paul, respectfully I disagree with your stand on the Turtle Farm. Turtle meat has been a staple in the diets of the islanders for over 500 years. One of the main purposes of the turtle farm is to mitigate the depletion of the sea turtle population in the oceans due to over fishing. They also release hundreds of baby sea turtles each year safely into the oceans increasing the natural population. I think the island residents should begin their own petition to preserve their way of life and customs without interference from the outside.

  3. Re: Cayman Turtle Farm

    Humans eat meat – different humans from different parts of the world eat different meats … end of story.

    In my opinion, the main issue here is that unlike cow, sheep, pig, duck and chicken slaughterhouses in the USA, UK and EU, the Cayman Turtle Farm includes an element where people can interact with the food as well.

    Trust and believe, if tours and visits were allowed at the average slaughterhouse today the world would be overrun with disgusted and newly-converted vegetarians.

    This campaign is simply hypocritical, one-sided and unjustifiable.

  4. Don’t be surprised if these bottom lip quivering tree huggers somehow link the turtle farm being linked to global warming.

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