Turtle Farm could be jewel

The debate and discussion about the Cayman Turtle Farm during the recent election is proof of concern about the facility amongst many Caymanians.  

The World Society for the Protection of Animals recognises this concern must now be met with positive action to determine the future of the Farm’s 9,500 turtles and to address the burden that the Farm’s business model now places on the Caymanian economy. 

The Cayman Turtle Farm has been struggling financially for years, never making sustainable profits under either public or private ownership, and more recently falling into receivership and amassing huge debts.  

Sea turtle farming is unlikely to ever become profitable, or be seen as a good investment by a private owner. This does not mean the closure of the Cayman Turtle Farm, but rather a steady transition into a leading turtle rescue and rehabilitation centre: a centre of excellence for sea turtle conservation and eco-tourism – a potential jewel in Cayman’s crown.  

The new Government will first need to establish true levels of local demand for turtle meat, which includes tourists buying turtle meat in restaurants.  

Meat production could then be scaled down over a number of years, meeting the smaller but truer demand, reaching a point where sea turtle farming can eventually cease.  

Continued unprofitability and further international criticism could negatively impact on the turtle population it was designed to protect.  

 

Neil D’Cruze 

World Society for the 
Protection of Animals 
Wildlife Campaign leader  

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Turtles were as natural to the Cayman Islands waters as buffalo was to the plains of the mid West of the US. Both were decimated by Europeans. So now the natives are not suppose to eat what little they left. It is in the interest of the Cayman Islands to repopulate our waters with turtles. The humane aspects of the overcrowded pens could be addressed by annexing off some large penned lagoons for more space. Be humane and address the inhumane conditions of the human animal in Haiti, which is still recovering from the effect of that devastating earth-quake, and their unwise move away from the production of self sustaining rice, to an imported packaged consumer unit, which is now hard to get. Who else in the world is releasing as many turtles back to the wild as Cayman. Please tell me..

    John F. Levy

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  2. QUOTE:
    This does not mean the closure of the Cayman Turtle Farm, but rather a steady transition into a leading turtle rescue and rehabilitation centre: a centre of excellence for sea turtle conservation and eco-tourism – a potential jewel in Cayman’s crown.

    Not sure if I understand how this wonderful proposition will help to resolve burden that the Farm’s business model now places on the Caymanian economy? It is likely to get even larger.

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  3. Lukishi,

    Do you know what would happen if we stopped providing meat at the farm? Lets look at a few things I learned in Economics 101.

    Decreased supply when demand is stable or increasing = small price increase.

    Zero supply when demand is stable or increasing = huge price increase.

    This means that prices for poached turtle meat will be sky high, which then leads to a increase in poaching which then depletes the wild stocks especially mature nesting females.

    Lets look further at the revenue the turtle meat provides to the Farm. Without this revenue source the farm would be deeper in debt than it currently is and more dependent on charity. Maybe they might get some more grants once they stop farming but the grant money is not guaranteed or atleast none that I know about.

    So to summarize it; Decreased revenue for the farm and increased poaching and increased prices for turtle meat.

    I know that maybe a small percentage of potential visitors that are currently boycotting the facility will maybe and key word is maybe, visit once the facility stops farming the turtles and give a slight increase in ticket sales but here is the kicker, the turtles will still be raised in the same conditions as they are now as we still need mature males and females to produce eggs.

    So we still have all the purported inhumane treatment of the animals, none of the revenue from farming, illegal 50 dollar turtle dinners and increased poaching of the all important mature female nesters.

    Did I miss something?

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