Thursday, February 25, 2010

Local fisherman and activist catches and then releases rare loggerhead turtle.

Usually the story isn't one like the caption mentions. Turtles in Antigua are caught and slaughtered often by net fishermen. Usually the turtles have drowned by the time the fishermen get to their nets. The legislation that deals with turtles is old and although the new legislation has been on the table for years and years, it still hasn't been passed into regulation yet. The old regulations which are still being used permit fishermen to kill turtles for most of the year as long as they are above a certain size. That last bit is the worst thing because as we know, turtles take between 20 to 40 years to become sexually mature. One in ten thousand hawksbills are lucky enough to live that long, and then if they are big enough they can be targeted by Antigua's fishermen for most of the year. IT's all total madness and my good friends in Fisheries ministry need to push the new regulations forward. The fisherman below would have been within his rights to kill the turtle. He is a shining example and hopefully with a bit more info he could be an ambassador for the turtle conservation movement. Well done!!! In Antigua our nesting turtles are usually Hawksbills and we occasionally get Green Turtles coming up as well as the massive Leatherback from time to time in their nesting period. This loggerhead neither nests here nor do we see them living here. They are very rare turtles here in Antigua and Barbuda, but generally speaking they are the most studied of all marine turtles. Remember that all marine turtles are endangered species. The video was taken by an old friend and I am told was shown on the local TV station.