September 20, 2020

Turtle poachers thwarted in Barker’s

0
0



Pin It

 

 

DoE Chief Conversation Officer Mark Orr

Small restaurateurs are risking huge fines and even jail time for buying illegal turtle meat from the black market.

The stern warning comes from the Department of Environment after a joint police operation to catch poachers in Barker’s.

Last week the RCIPS helicopter spotted a jet-ski with a large object tied to it. It was later stopped by the Marine Unit and although nothing was found a land and sea search was launched.

They then discovered a large 200 pound turtle tied to a tree by her front flippers.

DoE Chief Conservation Officer Mark Orr said: “We suspect the poachers became spooked and tried to hide the turtle and come back at a later time to collect it.

“The price of meat has risen significantly and the turtle that was found could have easily fetched $1,000.

“The majority of people buy illegal meat are home owners. The poachers just sell it in five or ten pound bags from the back of a truck or even on a bike.

“We would remind people that it is not only against the law to sell illegal meat but also to buy it.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if some smaller restaurants and businesses are purchasing illegal meat. If caught and convicted they could face a year in prison and fines of up to $500,000.”

The nesting green turtle found near Sand Hole Road was turned on her back and tied up. She was later rescued by DoE officials.

After last Wednesday’s find, Mr Orr himself helped to free the turtle and release her into the sea.

He added: “It was quite a struggle convincing the 200 pound turtle that I was bringing her to safety as she continually tried to bite me. Once out of the cove, I first made sure she did not have any injuries before releasing her.”

The North Sound rescue was the second turtle to be saved from poachers this month. Another attempt was foiled near Sand Hole Road after people walking the beach notified DoE.

Mr Orr added: “We suspect that the one near Sand Hole Road, a 375 pound green turtle, was probably laying eggs when she was caught and tied up. Poachers then hid her in the bush, but before they could return, she was found.”

Although historically turtle fishing is part of the Cayman heritage, it is only legal to buy meat from the Turtle Farm.

 

Small restaurateurs are risking huge fines and even jail time for buying illegal turtle meat from the black market.

The stern warning comes from the Department of Environment after a joint police operation to catch poachers in Barker’s.

Last week the RCIPS helicopter spotted a jet-ski with a large object tied to it. It was later stopped by the Marine Unit and although nothing was found a land and sea search was launched.

They then discovered a large 200 pound turtle tied to a tree by her front flippers.

DoE Chief Conservation Officer Mark Orr said: “We suspect the poachers became spooked and tried to hide the turtle and come back at a later time to collect it.

“The price of meat has risen significantly and the turtle that was found could have easily fetched $1,000.

“The majority of people buy illegal meat are home owners. The poachers just sell it in five or ten pound bags from the back of a truck or even on a bike.

“We would remind people that it is not only against the law to sell illegal meat but also to buy it.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if some smaller restaurants and businesses are purchasing illegal meat. If caught and convicted they could face a year in prison and fines of up to $500,000.”

After last Wednesday’s find, Mr Orr himself helped to free the turtle and release her into the sea.

He added: “It was quite a struggle convincing the 200 pound turtle that I was bringing her to safety as she continually tried to bite me. Once out of the cove, I first made sure she did not have any injuries before releasing her.”

The North Sound rescue was the second turtle to be saved from poachers this month. Another attempt was foiled near Sand Hole Road after people walking the beach notified DoE.

Mr Orr added: “We suspect that the one near Sand Hole Road, a 375 pound green turtle, was probably laying eggs when she was caught and tied up. Poachers then hid her in the bush, but before they could return, she was found.”

Although historically turtle fishing is part of the Cayman heritage, it is only legal to buy meat from the Turtle Farm.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind

*