Home Precision Agriculture How a Farm Helped Save Sea Turtles in the Cayman Islands

How a Farm Helped Save Sea Turtles in the Cayman Islands


In the Cayman Islands, sea turtles are extra than simply a majestic creature. The animal seems on the islands’ flag, is the mascot of the British territory’s flagship airline and is printed on the $5 invoice (together with the Queen). It’s additionally the major ingredient in the Cayman Islands’ nationwide dish: sea turtle stew.

Consuming sea turtles, which have been labeled as an endangered animal since 1973, is controversial. However the culinary custom is essential to the Cayman Islands, which has its personal farm to breed and lift sea turtles for native consumption. And in accordance with a new research printed in Frontiers in Marine Science, the turtle farm has performed an essential function in the species’ restoration in the Cayman Islands.

The waters surrounding the group of three islands that make up the Cayman Islands had been as soon as residence to a thriving inhabitants of sea turtles. They had been so ample that when Christopher Columbus reached the Caribbean islands in 1503, he referred to the land as Las Tortugas, utilizing the Spanish phrase for “turtles” to explain it.

It comes as no shock then that sea turtle meat was a part of a life-sustaining weight-reduction plan for the islands’ inhabitants—in addition to its colonizers and guests. By the 1600s, the Cayman Islands grew to become a key cease for ships crusing the Caribbean, whose hungry sailors had been in want of contemporary meat to eat whereas at sea. Caymanians harvested and bought sea turtles to the sailors, which enabled the small islands to develop a global financial scale. By the 1800s, nonetheless, the turtling business in the Cayman Islands had began to deplete the once-rich inhabitants of sea turtles.

In 1968, a firm known as Maritime Ltd. was established in Grand Cayman to breed the endangered-animal inexperienced sea turtle for industrial functions. Later known as the Cayman Turtle Farm, the farm raises turtles to fulfill the wants for native consumption with out depleting the wild inhabitants of the species. Renamed the Cayman Turtle Centre in 2016, it’s a fashionable vacationer attraction the place guests maintain, kiss and pose with younger sea turtles for photo-ops. Additionally a conservation facility, its captive breeding program releases turtles into the wild which have been bred in captivity.

The ocean turtle farm in Grand Cayman “definitely has played a role in the green turtle recovery,” says the research’s lead researcher, Brendan Godley, professor of conservation science at the College of Exeter. Along with the Cayman Islands Division of Setting, Godley monitored the sea turtle nesting inhabitants over 22 years, and located the wild inhabitants has made a large restoration. When the first counts had been taken from 1998 to 1999, simply 39 sea turtle nests had been discovered in complete on the three islands. By 2019, there have been 675.

That’s a great distance off from the once-abundant inhabitants of sea turtles, however their restoration is shifting in a constructive course with out hindering a historic culinary custom. In reality, current conservation efforts are believed to be behind a rise in the native demand for turtle meat, which was up 4.1 % in 2020.


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