Concern Over Killing Of Leatherback Turtle At Grand Anse Beach

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The killing of a leatherback turtle at Grand Anse beach has prompted new expressions of concern over the slaughter of the creatures in Saint Lucia.

On Friday morning, reports surfaced that the turtle died after a cutlass blow to the back of the neck.

And Environmentalist Dr. Marie-Louise Felix has expressed concern over the discovery.

She recalled that individuals had slaughtered several other turtles at the same beach in the past.

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Felix said the photos she received suggest that someone may have been walking on the beach, saw the turtle and decided to kill it.

“It’s the same way that some people walk on the road, see a frog and decide to kick it. We’ve seen this happening and we don’t understand it. I have gone to Grand Anse beach a few years ago and we found five dead turtles – all of them chopped up as if somebody had fun chopping them up and walked away,” the Environmentalist lamented.

Felix, a lecturer in Environmental Science at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and the institution’s Environmental Club coordinator, observed that local sandy beaches had become the nesting areas for leatherback, green and hawksbill turtles.

She said there have also been reports of the loggerhead turtle nesting here.

But the former Fisheries Officer told St Lucia Times that Grand Anse beach has become an important nesting site for the leatherback, the biggest marine turtle in the world and considered critically endangered due to declining populations.

Felix explained that the turtles would visit the beach to lay eggs during the current nesting season.

She assumed that someone killed it when the leatherback came up on the beach Thursday night.

However Felix noted that sea turtles are a vital part of the ecosystem.

But she said it was surprising that there’s an open and closed season for sea turtles here.

“You would expect that turtles would be completely protected as they are in several of the other Caribbean countries like Barbados and Antigua where it is completely illegal to capture, interfere with the nesting and collect hatchlings,” Felix told St Lucia Times.

Of the 195 countries worldwide, Saint Lucia is one of only 42 that still allow 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.

Nevertheless, in March this year, hundreds of people signed an online petition calling for Saint Lucia to ban the hunting and killing of turtles.

The petition coincided with a Sea Turtle Fishery Survey launched by the Fisheries Department.

The department observed that poachers and fishers continue to harvest sea turtles illegally.

And it highlighted concerns including the capture of nesting turtles, the use and sale of turtle eggs, and the slaughter of turtles in open public areas as the demand for turtle meat encourages widespread sale and consumption at ‘popular locations’ locally.

The Sea Turtle Fishery survey, which aimed to engage stakeholders ‘to better manage and protect marine resources’, said there’s a need to review the Sea Turtle Fishery regulations.

And amid the calls for Saint Lucia implement a complete ban, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security, and Rural Development Alfred Prospere last month promised a public statement ‘at the appropriate time’.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. I just flew here from the US to see leatherbacks. When I googled “leatherbacks grand anse beach” this came up first. It’s sad to know that there’s so little concern about the natural heritage of St. Lucia. I’m sure many care, but clearly the government does not. People are willing to come and pay money to see this stuff alive and well, not hacked up senselessly on the beach.

  2. set up cameras around those areas that are turtle nesting sites. and deploy drones over the area periodically too. international environmental groups can do that easy. you lucians too damn salop!!!

  3. As God is alive, you will not go unpunish.
    Every morning God will put to silence all the wicked in the land !!

  4. Cabot’s driving all over secret beach daily, killing the only turtle nesting spots there, since they destroyed, desicrated, sacrileged the beach, and reef next to casenbas reef and Donkey beach! SmPH woiiiiiiiiiiiiiii smph

  5. St.lucians dont care about anything as long as they can wake up on a morning show off and pretend they are somebody on friday night to feed their social status ego.just Live every day like there will be no tommorow.

  6. St. Lucians have a love affair with shooting to kill, to slash to kill, driving madness kill or wounded who cares, poor Turtles don’t stand a chance; a Government who don’t give a damn as long as Carnival is in the air. Who is selling Turtle meat? Arrest them.

  7. St Lucian dogs on the loose. just as criminal as those who govern them. meanwhile the criminal cabal in the ministry of agriculture will release a statement saying that pig did nothing illegal and they will go on as if nothing has happened. recall the poor orca? how could the laws be so lax in this country? what is closed and open season on turtles? this should not even be open for discussion.

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