PRESS RELEASE – The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Production, Fisheries, Co-operatives and Rural Development informs the public that the Sea Turtle Fishery will be CLOSED from January 01, 2016 to September 30, 2016 both days inclusive. All harvesting, sale and consumption of sea turtle meat must cease at midnight on December 31, 2015.
During the open Sea Turtle Fishery which runs from Thursday, October 01 to December 31, 2015, both days inclusive, the following regulations are in effect in accordance with the Fisheries Regulations Chapter 7.15 of the Revised Laws of Saint Lucia 2001:
(1) No person shall:
(a) Interfere with any turtle nest, or turtle that is nesting;
(b) Disturb, remove from the fishery waters, expose for sale, sell, purchase, or at any time have in his/her possession any turtle eggs;
(c) Remove from the fishery waters, expose for sale, sell purchase or at any time have in his possession any undersized turtle;
(d) Set within 100 meters of the shores of Saint Lucia any net or seine or any other artifice for the purpose of or with the intention of fishing for, catching or taking any turtle.
(2) In this Regulation:
(a) “Turtle” includes the whole or any part of any turtle;
(b) Undersized means a weight less than:
(i) 27.22 kilograms (60lbs) for Hawksbill (Erectmochelys imbricate);
(ii) 34.02 kilograms (75lbs) for Green (Cheloniamydas) and Loggerhead (Carettacaretta)
Therefore, the Department would like to appeal to fishers and the public to adhere to the following:
. The slaughtering of sea turtles is prohibited in public and open areas.
. The spearing of sea turtles is prohibited.
. The capture of the leatherback turtles prohibited.
.Only Hawksbill Turtles weighing 60lbs or more; Green or Loggerhead Turtle weighing 75lbs or more are permitted to be fished.
. Any products made from turtle shells or their products are not to be sold or exported, as trade of turtle products is restricted under the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES);
. All harvesting activities must cease after the last day of the open period.
. No person shall be allowed to have in their possession or expose for sale any sea turtle meat or shell after the closure of the harvesting period from January 01, 2016.
The Department seeks your assistance in reporting to the marine police or district police stations any person or establishment found with undersized turtles, taking or consuming sea turtle eggs or holding a sea turtle as a pet.
Anyone caught violating the conditions may be fined up to EC$5000.00 for each offence.