As we all know most sea turtles are endangered, especially the species we get here in St. Lucia. We have three species that grace us with their presence, such as the Green turtle, Hawkes bill and the almighty Leather backs. Here in St. Lucia there is a turtle hunting season, this does not only affect the turtles (the most important subject here) but also the tourist.
Many people that hear about the turtle hunting season are reluctant to book their holidays to this beautiful island in pure protest, this then affects local businesses, not only the big businesses (airlines, hotels, etc.) but the small businesses as well, such as the vender on the side of the road selling hand crafted coconut sculptures or wooden trinkets.
We have been up in arms fighting for the rights of these magnificent genital giants, but to no avail. It seems that we may be looking at this in the wrong light.
I have been doing some serious head scratching to try and figure out how we can all win and at the same time maybe benefit these hard shelled innocent guardians of the sea as well as keeping to the local tradition of turtle meat.
I would like to start off by saying that this is not my first choice and definitely not the only choice, but it seems as though we could actually give back to the ocean, a kind of an apology if you like.
The subject is a Turtle breeding program, Where I hate to see animals in captivity, this seems to be one way that we can satisfy our local “tradition” as well as give back to the ocean, releasing a percentage of turtles back into the ocean, ensuring the increase in numbers out in the wild as well as making them ambassadors for well needed turtle research. Tagging and releasing these animals can dramatically increase the knowledge that we all need to know to ensure they do not disappear from our blue planet.
This program would not only eliminate killing wild turtles but in this way we can manage the numbers, use the turtles to their full potential, such as educate our children, creating jobs and awareness, using 100% of the turtle, not only the meat, but what they stand for. If we look at what we are taking out of our oceans, it’s tragic and soon there will be nothing left to take. As a diver I love nothing more than to see these gentle gliding creatures roaming our seas.
There is so much we can do. If we are going to do this, let’s do it right. We can help. YOU can help. We can make this an island project! Let’s join together and save our oceans, create jobs, educate our children and most of all, give back to mother earth and her deep blue magnificent ocean.