Prospere Promises Statement Amid Calls For Ban On Hunting, Killing Sea Turtles – St. Lucia Times News

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Amid calls for Saint Lucia to ban hunting and killing sea turtles, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security, and Rural Development Alfred Prospere has promised a public statement ‘at the appropriate time’.

“Internally we are discussing it,” Prospere told reporters on Monday.

“We have to think of the fishers as well because remember, they have to earn a livelihood. But I do not want to preempt anything that I am supposed to be saying 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 disclosed.

“We will try out best to involve as many stakeholders as possible because this is not a decision that I will be making on my own. It is a decision that will impact the entire country and the world maybe so it is something we are discussing,” Prospere stated.

Declaring that the Saint Lucia government needs to 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 income than selling sea turtle parts, including eggs, meat, and shells, making the animals worth far more alive.

It noted that 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.

But despite the provisions, a Sea Turtle Fishery Survey launched about two weeks ago by the Fisheries Department has observed that poachers and fishers continue to harvest sea turtles illegally.

Aside from concerns over hunting and slaughtering sea turtles, two fishers from Vieux Fort ignited a social media firestorm after capturing and killing a ‘juvenile’ Orca or killer whale last month, prompting calls for a ban on the capture and slaughter of whales.

However, the Fisheries Department indicated that in the case of the Orca, the fishers acted within the existing regulations.

Headline photo: Alfred Prospere (Stock image)