Turtle Farm cash injection up

| 23/06/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Cayman Turtle Farm(CNS): Despite job cuts and anincrease in the price of turtle meat, Boatswain Beach, Cayman Turtle Farm has still received a government subsidy of over $9.6 million. The increase of more than half a million on last year’s cash injection was revealed in the 2010/11 budget documents. According to the managing director, the demand for meat at the farm has fallen as a result of the price increase. This reduction in demand has relieved the pressure on the facility, which is struggling with a number of problems related to the breeding programme.  Tim Adam explained some of the issues during Monday’s session of Finance Committee when legislators agreed to the farm’s $9,688,889 equity investment. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

Adam said there were no plans to reduce the price of meat in the near future as it was clear demand was sensitive to price and until the farm could improve the hatchling rates and their subsequent survival and lower the productions costs the farm had to keep demand down.

“We could never have produced enough turtle meat to fill the demand at the price it was at,” Adam told the Finance Committee when asked by the Leader of the Opposition about lowering the price in the short term. Adam said that while the price would be reviewed on a regular basis, until the dwindling hatchling rate could be improved the farm could not risk increasing the demand. The MD said the level was now sustainable, giving the facility room to engage in a review of the turtles in the breeding ponds as well as the nutrition to try and improve the egg rates. “The good news is that turtle is now available for those that want it,” he added.
In the past demand far outstripped the farm’s ability to harvest and produce the meat because of the breeding problems, which, Adam said, would have put the future of the facility in jeopardy. He explained that there are only around 7,000 turtles at the farm at present when there had been over 20,000 before the original turtle farm suffered significant losses in Hurricane Mitch in the 1990s. The farm had to significantly improve the stock before there could be an adjustment to price, he said.
Adam explained that the sale of meat accounted for around only 10% of the revenue at Boatswain Beach. Coupled with unrealistic past prices of less than half of what it actually cost to produce, the sale of turtle meat, although of cultural significance, was never going to save the facility.
The question of exporting turtle products, such as the oil which could be very valuable, as well as goods made from the shells, was also discussed. Currently banned under the CITES regulations, Adam explained that the farm had to eliminate any trace of wild turtles from the breeding and harvesting chain if it were to ever be possible.
He said if the farm reached a point of certainty that it was harvesting only second and third generation farmed turtles, there was a hope that the international authorities would look more favourably on the Cayman Turtle Farm Ltd and allow it to export products. Adam said at present there was still some question, despite the farm believing it had done everything right, of the current breeders having originated from the wild. He said the facility had to reach a point where it could demonstrate that the turtles harvested were generation after generation from the farm.
Any turtles that could not be proved to have been farmed were being removed from the breeding pool, Adam explained, and replaced by farmed turtles.  
The primary goal, Adam told the committee, was to improve turtle numbers and according to the budget document the farm has a target in this financial year to improve hatchling rates by 230% and grow the herd numbers by 5,000.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    You know amazingly enough managers from both Cayman Airways and the Turtle Farm both release statements suggesting that they were making money instead of losing. And of course a number of Caymanians swallow it hook line and sinker.

    Both of these have lost money over the years and will continue to lose money. Does that make them bad for the country? No.

    First Cayman Airways. Because this airline is a National Airline of a small country with a small population the larger competition will continue to beat it. Cayman Airways will continue to lose money. The great value of Cayman Airways is in evacuation from a hurricane. I know I have heard others propose getting charters and other airlines etc. However in 1988 when Hurricane Gilbert was coming and the country under a Hurricane Warning, American Airlines landed with a full load of tourist just before we were ready to close our airport. So please dont go there.

    Second the Turtle Farm. The Turtle Farm is one of the main attractions for tourist coming to the Cayman Islands. It is unique and in case you have not figured it out yet larger countries have a lot more to offer. It will continue to lose money until they sell the idea to the residence of the Cayman Islands to visit on a regular basis. The farm cannot survive on tourism alone. The people living here must realize its value and support it. I take my family of four there for $25.

    What would happen if each month a significant number of residents were to sacrifice that amount and go to the turtle farm. All of a sudden the fanancial picture of the Turtle Farm would be a lot brighter. The same should be done for Cayman Airways.

  2. Anonymous says:

    close it!!!!! and while you are at it do the same with cayman airway and the rest of the losers………..

  3. Anonymous says:

     My in laws visited the turtle farm last week.  They paid to get in and went off to look at everything.  When they went to swim they were told they  had 30 minutes before the facility closed.  A fact that was not disclosed to them when they paid the entrance fee.  Further they said that the previously well stocked aviary now has bare;y any birds.

    We will not be assisting the turtle farm to stay in business by sending all our visitors over there – it clearly isn’t worth it

  4. IRON CLAD says:

    People…. fill me in here please.

    I thought we were in the middle of a deficit and budget crunch!

    Where does the Premier find the prudence in dumping $20 million into Cayman Airways AND now the Turtle Farm, the other public funds BLEEDER???

    What’s just as bad or even worse, is the widening and complete renewing of the Road in West Bay called Hell Rd.(from the Primary School to Water Course Rd. junction. All the works and wonders are being put into this NRA project.

    WHY is it that after ALL of these YEARS that this road has NEVER been repaved(since its original paving) is the Govt choosing to SPEND SPEND SPEND money amounts of money when this should have been done many yrs ago or certainly to have waited till we were in a better Financial position??? WHY WHY WHY???

    You know it just BLOWS me the hell away to see such COMPLETE STUPIDITY and IGNORANCE in our Govts!!!  IT TRULY DOES!!!

    Wow, how did God create such brains?

    Solemnly IRON CLAD


    • Anonymous says:

      there ate truckloads of NRA employees getting paid anyway. Might as well have them lean on their shovels near a little project. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s time for Govt to divest this non-performing asset.

  6. Plum Bum says:

    "the sale of turtle meat, although of cultural significance, was never going to save the facility"  Bullfighting is of cultural significance in Spain and Mexico, it still does not mean it is not disgusting.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps you should look in your own backyard for "disgusting" practices of cultural significance but of course you wouldn’t since you no doubt consider yourself culturally superior.  

  7. papercaymanian says:

    When ever Big Mac says all our problems come from PPM this is what I think about first. Not a fan of the party system by the way. Was praying for a three way tie last election.Hope the Tea Party thing catches on here and we can sweep away ALL incumbents (good & bad).

    The numbers for this little attraction are stunning! Does FOI cover detailed accounting requests or just broad brush books?

    I have to say that of all the govt. losers the Turtle farm ranks #2 on my "oh my god how did we let this happen" list right behind 6000govt. employees.

  8. Anonymous says:

    more wasted money. go mac go mac. what a mess.

  9. My2cents says:

    I am just in shock at the sheer size of the costs of running this entity. $9.6 million is what I would expect to have paid to build the place again from scratch, not simply keep it going. Where exactly is all this money going at the turtle farm?

    • Anonymous says:

      Face it all.  This is just one of several Caymanian welfare outlets run by the government to feed their friends.  If it was just about the money they could close it down or sell it.  But the Governments big question would be"how are we going to feed all of our tribe now????  9.6 million buys a lot of food, shelter, gas and cell phone use.

  10. Anonymous says:

    $10,000,000 down the toilet to continue this embarressing pseudo-ecological abomination. 


    $30,000 allocated for Lionfish control, to preserve our principal ecotourism product: SCUBA DIVING.


    • My2cents says:

      Good point – priorities are ALL wrong.

      Vested interests win over the true needs of the country. We’re doomed.

  11. Anonymous says:

    What a waste of money

    • Anonymous says:

      Increase the price, reduce the demand,increase the stock and now we still have the expense because no one seems to think that the turtles still have to eat to survive. If we think education is expensive try ignorance.