Friday, September 22, 2006 Poachers of the leather back turtles on the
Grande Anse Beach are threatening the livelihood of those who gain a source of
income from the Des Barras Turtle Watch Programme.
The Department of Fisheries says recently a number of alarming reports has
reached the department, informing that turtles are being hunted and destroyed at
the beach, well known as a turtle watching attraction site.
However the department laments that this is not the first time such activity has
been brought to their attention, despite regular advisories over the media to
educate people on turtle conservation.
Chief Fisheries Officer Vaughn Charles says this is a worrying development. We
have received these reports before and we have attempted to address them through
the surveillance officers within our ministry and assistance from the marine
police and the district police. Recently there were a number of tours being
provided by the Des Barras community, the Des Barras tour guides- they had the
turtle watch programmes along with the Saint Lucia Heritage Programme but that
has since been disrupted by those poachers who come onto the beach in search of
To compound this problem, Mr. Charles says naturally the turtle population is in
grave danger of being seriously depleted once the cycle of reproduction is
It creates a problem in terms of the sustainability of that resource because
there has to be a certain level of rejuvenation and that does not take place. We
have indicated to those persons who are involved in that practice that it's
against the law, it's in contravention of Fisheries Regulations No.9 of 1994 and
there's a fine. You can be fined $5,000.00.
The Fisheries Department says based on its investigations the killing of the
turtles seems be motivated mainly by mischief makers rather than persons
seeking some form of economic benefit.
Those persons are being asked to desist from this practice.