Amid calls for Saint Lucia to ban the hunting and killing of sea turtles, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development Alfred Prospere pledged a public statement ” timely”.
“Internally, we are discussing it,” Prospere told reporters on Monday.
“We also have to think of the fishermen, because don’t forget that they have to earn a living. But I don’t want to prejudge what I’m supposed to say publicly. We need to get the right information. We need to get all the information we need and a public statement will be made as soon as possible,” the minister revealed.
“We will do our best to involve as many stakeholders as possible, as this is not a decision that I will be making myself. It’s a decision that will impact the whole country and maybe the world, so it’s something we’re discussing,” Prospere said.
Stating that the government of Saint Lucia must understand that sea turtles are worth more to the island alive than dead, an online petition launched last week calling for a ban on hunting and killing the creatures.
According to the petition, research has shown that sea turtle ecotourism can generate three times more revenue than selling sea turtle parts, including eggs, meat and shells, making the animals much more alive. .
He noted that of the 195 countries in the world, Saint Lucia is one of only 42 that still allows turtle hunting.
Current local regulations allow an open season from October 1 to December 31 and a closed season from January 1 to September 30.
There are also provisions for weight limits, gear restrictions, and protection of eggs and nesting turtles.
But despite the provisions, an investigation into sea turtle fishing launched about two weeks ago by the Department of Fisheries observed that poachers and fishermen continue to illegally harvest sea turtles.
Along with concerns over the hunting and killing of sea turtles, two Vieux Fort fishermen have sparked a social media storm after catching and killing a ‘juvenile’ orca or killer whale last month, sparking calls for a ban on the capture and killing of whales.
However, the Department of Fisheries indicated that in the case of the Orca, the fishermen acted in accordance with the regulations in force.
Main photo: Alfred Prospere (archive image)