50 years ago: Replenishing Cayman’s turtle population

In the Aug. 8, 1968 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following story, titled “Plans ready to replenish turtles in Cayman waters,” appeared:

“Eminent zoologist Dr. Robert Schroeder Ph.D. hopes to repopulate the green turtle in large numbers in Caymanian waters and to restore the turtle trade to its former glory. The marine biologist plans to do this in three years’ time.

“It is natural for turtles to be in the Cayman Islands and that is why we chose to operate the project here,” Dr. Schroeder said in an interview here last Wednesday.

“The sponsors of the project will import turtle eggs from Central America. The eggs will be incubated in the North Sound. The hatchlings will be confined, fed and protected until they are 10 months old when they should weigh about 8 pounds.

“At that stage, the animals will be released to graze on the preserves of chicken liver, sponge and turtle grass in the area.

“All the animals will be branded and then released to be recovered by conventional methods when they weigh about 100 lbs.

“Dr. Schroeder aims at hatching 5,000 during his first year of operation and 10,000 in each successive year.”

In the same edition, a story titled “Apartment living: New trend in Cayman” appeared:

“Apartment living is a new trend in Cayman. Many new apartments are being built and although this is so, it is still very difficult to find apartments for rental as there are more customers than houses.

“This is a direct result of the economic expansion which has brought an influx of expatriates into the island. But it is not expatriates alone who seek apartments. Young Caymanians establishing their own families and tourists who come for long stays require these self-contained units.

“Because apartments are in such great demand their prices are very expensive ranging from £35 to £100 per month. But the demand is there, and people rent them.

“‘It is ridiculous for house rental to be so high,’ one expatriate worker said, ‘when salaries are so low in proportion. Imagine renting a house for more than three quarters of your salary. What is happening is that people expect you to pay North American rent on Caymanian wages.’

“Quite naturally, the beach cottages are the biggest money earners. They compete quite well against the hotels. For the most part of the tourist season they are occupied.

“Many local people are investing in the building of dwelling houses for rental. The houses are usually built with money obtained on loan from the bank. When the house is finished, it is rented and the rent is used to pay the bank.

“With the building of more and more apartments, competitive rates or more facilities will be offered.

“This could eventually lead to decrease in prices; but apartments continue to be built.”

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