Online Poll: Most people don't eat turtle

The consumption of turtle meat has long been part of Caymanian tradition, but according to the latest poll undertaken by the Caymanian Compass, a majority never eats it. 

Of 466 respondents to the question “How often do you eat turtle meat?”, 252 people selected “Never,” constituting 54.7 percent of the vote. 

However, a significant minority – 101 voters, or 21.7 percent – said they ate the meat “as often as I can.” Another 83 voters (17.8 percent) noted that they consumed it “on special occasions.” 

The remainder of the voters selected “once or twice a month” (22 votes or 4.7 percent) and the option of “Other” drew just eight voters, or 1.7 percent. 

Of those who never eat the meat, there were some strong opinions. “I simply can’t bring myself to try it,” wrote one commenter. “The idea is repulsive.” 

Another eco-conscious response echoed the thoughts of several of the respondents. “Turtles belong in the sea, not in our stomachs,” said one, while another person found the practice “disgusting!” and implored, “Leave the turtles be!” 

Another commenter agreed. “I don’t eat endangered species. Not even farmed ones,” the respondent wrote. 

That was a thought shared by another respondent, who enquired, “Why would I? Their population has decreased to a point of worry for their future existence.” 

Another ecologically minded respondent wrote, “Human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners. Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as endangered. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation.” 

That thread was picked up by another commenter, who said, “Don’t like it… Plus I don’t take lobster or conch from our waters as they are less and less every year.”
A large number of people who said they never ate turtle meat said they had tried it but weren’t impressed. “I hate it,” said one. “It tastes disgusting.” 

Several people who said that they may be a fan of the meat had other concerns about the process by which it reached their plates. “In the past I did, however, on realizing the conditions at the Turtle Farm, I have stopped,” said one person. 

The heavily-subsidized farm came in for a fair amount of comment itself. 

“I would never support such an inefficient government entity. Close down the turtle farm and use that money to step up marine law enforcement,” one person responded. 

Although some said they never ate the meat, they pointed to the islands’ historical relationship with turtle. “I don’t like it,” said one such commenter. “But I think others should have the right to eat it if they want.” 

Others had different reasons for not touching the meat. “It’s like iguana to me – ugly animal so couldn’t fathom eating it,” one person said.  

The opposite viewpoint was held by another poll contributor, who wrote, “Never had the desire to eat it. I think turtles are cute, it’s hard to eat something you think is cute.” 

Those who said they ate turtle “as often as I can” were less vocal in their comments, but one person brought up another more pragmatic point. “I could eat it every day, but it is so expensive I can’t afford to buy it,” the reader said. 

A historical Caymanian viewpoint was well-represented by a salient offering from a person who selected “Other” as an option. “I love turtle meat,” the respondent began. “I am a Caymanian coming from the early Bodden family that came here from England. Turtle has always been the dish of Cayman but the turtle farm is just bad. 

“The wild green one is better [and] I will eat that first before touching that nasty one from the farm.” 

Next week’s poll question: 

With the Cayman Economic Outlook conference approaching, what do you believe is the economic outlook for the Cayman Islands in 2014? 

  1. The economy will improve a good deal (explain) 
  2. The economy will improve slightly (explain) 
  3. The economy will decline slightly (explain) 
  4. The economy will decline substantially (explain) 
  5. Other (explain) 

To participate, visit 

Of 466 respondents to the question “How often do you eat turtle meat?”, 252 people selected “Never,” constituting 54.7 percent of the vote. 



  1. Any Caymanian who do not eat turtle meat is because they cannot afford it. Although we have religious persons who publicly say they do not eat turtle meat however at home they are cooking it same way.
    My thoughts are that the 54% red is definitely not Caymanians. How can anyone want to remove our national dish is beyond me.

Comments are closed.