A food establishment in Castries has been warned against advertising sea turtle meat for sale.
According to the Department of Fisheries one of its team and the Marine Police Unit conducted a search of the food establishment which offered “stew turtle” on its menu. During the operation, the owner was cautioned and advised on the implication of advertising sea turtle meat for sale.
According to the Department of Fisheries it is aware that food establishments around the island continue to advertise sea turtle meat and other seafood for sale during the closed season.
“The public is reminded that the sea turtle fishery is currently closed. In accordance with Fisheries Act 7.15, Section 33 (e), when the fishery is closed “a person shall not fish for, remove from the fishery waters, or at any time have in his or her possession, expose for sale, sell or purchase any turtle meat during the closed fishery,” noted a press release from the Department.
The release urges members of the public to adhere to the Sea Turtle Fishery closure and report all sea turtle activities observed, adding that the illegal capture of sea turtles and the prevalence of black market demand is encouraging poachers to continuously prey on the vulnerability of nesting turtles to meet the demands of consumers. The Fisheries Regulation, section 33 (1) (b) states it is an offence to interfere with any nesting sea turtle or their eggs.
“The Department of Fisheries informs the general public that the Sea Turtle Fishery opens on Thursday, October 01 to Thursday, December 31, 2020 both days inclusive.
“The public is also informed that the Sea Turtle Fishery will be closed as of January 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021, both days inclusive. All harvesting, sale and consumption of sea turtle meat must cease at midnight on December 31, 2020,” the Department stated in its press release.
Anyone caught interfering with nesting turtles or their eggs, selling, advertising or in possession of sea turtle meat or eggs is liable to a maximum fine of EC$5000.00 per offence.
The public is encouraged to report all sea turtle nesting activity to the Fisheries Department at 725 1722, 468 4135, 468 4141, Marine Police Unit at 456 3870 or the nearest police station. The Department of Fisheries stands ready to enforce the Fisheries Regulation to ensure compliance.