Move to stop BVI turtle hunting

Did you know there is still a perfectly legal turtle hunting season in the British Virgin Islands?

Neither did Karl Pytlik, with the Caribbean Oceanic Restoration and Education Foundation, and he’d like to find a way to put a stop to it.

“These are endangered animals that frequent U.S. and British waters and are a huge draw for our tourists, ” says Karl. “My goal is to get enough awareness out there before it starts this year so that no turtles are harmed in the upcoming season. ”

The BVI turtle hunting season runs from December 1 through March 31 and, while hunting loggerhead turtles, leatherback turtles and turtle eggs are banned, it is open season for the Hawskbill turtle and Green turtle.

Karl, who also helps with the Caribbean Lionfish Response Program, has just set up a Facebook page, “End Sea Turtle Hunting Season in the British Virgin Islands. ” Join it if you’d like.

We’ll hear more from Karl about his ideas on how to stop turtle hunting soon.

In the meantime, you can take a swim with a turtle at Leinster Bay, below…

13 Replies to “Move to stop BVI turtle hunting”

  1. in response to the turtle hunting
    AND in response to the Tortola dump burning
    AND simply just to keep US dollars here in the US
    all businesses that reside in the USVI and make US money
    taking US tourists from US islands to spend their money
    in the BVI’s should be taxed extra.
    I’ve always believed that it is counter productive to USVI tourism
    to let people profit by taking money away from the USVI.
    And I’m not even mentioning the very questionable and ever-changing costs and sometimes unfriendly BVI customs practices. Just saying…I know St John has more than enough beaches, boating, hiking, food, drink, shopping, photography…

  2. yea! i’m so happy that some one is taking this on. makes we sick to know that the BVI residents can kill these amazing animals.

  3. My observation is that people staying on St. John for their vacations may take a day trip over to Tortola to look at this near-by island, but spend the bulk of their time and dollars on St. John. It’s a free country and an individual choice. Making it difficult or more expensive to check out other island is pointless and mean spirited. Let’s not fall into that trap.

  4. Not that I endorse hunting turtles, but there are plenty of countries around the world that find things acceptable that we do not, likewise we have customs, etc that they don’t find acceptable as well. Tolerance is a two way street.

  5. I had no idea it was legal to kill turtles in the BVI. How terrible.
    Now when we see turtles from the boat while in the BVI we have to tell them “Get back over the line! You’re on the wrong side!”

  6. Let’s not tolerate any custom – anywhere – that is wrong. Killing these endangered turtles is wrong. Thanks to Karl!

    And Ruth, talking to the turtles from the boat. Huh??

  7. Ruth,
    Sorry, I didn’t get it. You switched gears so quickly from serious (I think) to ha ha. Not even separate paragraphs.

  8. Turtles are incredible (endangered)creatures than can live longer than humans…I had no idea it was legal to kill them for meat in the BVI. There’s no question of “live and let live” on that score in my mind… STOP THE TURTLE KILLING! I’m with Karl all the way one that one!

  9. While this is an easy issue to jump on a bandwagon with, and I can see how someone would decide to make it a cause celebrity, I think trying to mount a one sided social media attack on the BVI turtle season is the wrong tactic.

    Sure, I’m all for the stopping the harvest of sea turtles for food, and I’m still up in the air about the cultural aspect brought up in an earlier post. I do feel that removal of the turtle season from the BVI Fisheries Act would be merely a stroke of a pen creating another unenforceable law and would only serve to make the BVI like the USVI and Puerto Rico, where turtles and eggs are harvested illegally year round.

    Also, I think most people realize that any one group of people shoving legislation down the throat of another seldom alleviates the problem, and invariably creates bad relations.
    I truly believe that only way turtle harvests legal or otherwise are going to be stopped is through education of the youth, who will put pressure on the powers that be. Here in the BVI there are groups both governmental and NGO whose goal is just that. These are groups who have actually been aware of the BVI turtle season for more than a few weeks or a month, but are far more concerned with the devastation of nests by invasive species such as mongooses and feral cats, and the destruction of nesting areas for financial gain then the relatively few taken by commercial fishermen for food. Many of the people within these organizations are from outside the BVI as well, and have spent years working to build a relationship within the inner workings, and not be seen as just a meddling outsider. Social media crusades by outsiders, however educated and well meaning, tend to have a deteriorating effect on those relationships and make their work more difficult.

    Anyone concerned enough about this issue to motivate beyond clicking “Like” on a Facebook page, should look into and support one or more of these organizations with either time or money. I personally support the Jost van Dykes Preservation Society, and their work on that small island, but there are others just as worthy.

  10. In response to Paul:

    It would behoove you to go to the cause page and see what is posted there and what is happening. I too have worked closely with JVDP society and Conservation and Fisheries. Problem is that within the government some of those who work with the turtle programs are also taking them home for dinner! I know this as fact. I have started many avenues to begin awareness and engage other groups and people to find away to correct legislation. One by one you find these countries over-turning their hunting laws because it is the right thing to do. I think your comments are unwarranted and you have not looked into what is actually happening. I am also working with people who created the first moratorium for BVI sea turtles back in 1986, who were also a group of outsiders mostly USVI, to see it through to a full moratorium. Not to mention conservationists in the Turks and Caicos looking for an end to this primitive practice. Please do not attempt to take away from this effort simply because you have not taken the time to find out what is really happening or who I am, what I have accomplished or who I have been working with. If there is a better person or group to do this, more power to them. I would gladly abdicate to them. The reason I am involved is because NO ONE is bringing this matter to light. In my mind there is no option, they are ENDANGERED, stop harvesting them, period. Mind you I do this all for free and do not receive payment for any of the work I have done in the BVI which is significant. Thank you.

  11. Carl,
    First off, we are not opposed on the outcome of this issue. We just look at the solution very differently.
    Allow me to pose three questions for you to think about:
    1. If the season is removed from all the BVI Fisheries documents, is it going to make a difference? Or will the word just be changed from hunting to poaching?
    2. Do you think that telling a group of people that they can’t do something is more effective than educating them as to why they shouldn’t?
    3. After reading some of the comments on this article I also have to ask: Do any of you believe that turtles and turtle eggs aren’t poached in the US Caribbean territories?

    As I said, I think it’s an easy issue to support, and in fact I support it, but I will say again, I think the tactic is wrong. No offense meant Carl, it’s just my opinion and if I’m wrong I’ll be the first to thank you. Take it how you will.

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