Turtle number increase cuts meat price

| 30/08/2013

(CNS): The Cayman Turtle Farm is cutting the price of its meat as a result of a more productive breeding season and better management of the animals. With thousands of the endangered animals at the farm, what appears to be improvements in husbandry, diet and the overall health of the turtles has led to an increase in numbers, which the farm said has enabled them to reduce the normally hefty price tag. With over 8,000 turtles currently at the farm, the growth in numbers will also result in more of the farmed animals released into the wild, even though question remain as to whether the release programme is an appropriate method of conservation.

The reduction in price has been welcomed by the Department of Environment (DoE) as cheaper farmed meat is expected to reduce poaching pressure on the wild population. DoEDirector Gina Ebanks-Petrie said that any drop in meat prices would reduce incentives for illegal take, "so the DoE welcomes the planned reduction in the cost of turtle meat from the Farm.”

CTF Managing Director Tim Adam said the price decrease is the result of several factors, including increased egg and hatchling production at the farm.

“Over the last breeding season in 2012, the Cayman Turtle Farm greatly increased egg and hatchling production as a result of various actions including enhancements to the breeder diet, removal of unproductive breeders and changing the ratio of males to females in the breeding pond, as well as younger breeders becoming more mature and so better able to reproduce,” Adam said. “During the current 2013 breeding season now in progress, results so far indicate numbers similar to and even a bit ahead of last year’s numbers of egg production, which produced a bumper crop of hatchlings.”

Adam also said that lowering turtle meat prices helps in conservation efforts as cheaper legal farmed turtle meat means less incentive to poach turtles from the wild. “We strongly believe that a reduction in turtle meat prices will help to further reduce or eliminate poaching of wild turtles,” he said.

The CTF boss said that as many as 400 turtles could be released into the wild as a result of the increased hatchling production.

“We have completed work on additional quarantine tanks and our veterinarian, Dr Martha Keller, has implemented new pre-release quarantine protocols,” Adam explained. “The first turtles to be released under these new protocols are currently in the quarantine process, which runs for approximately three months. We anticipate that the Farm will be able to release up to 100 turtles at a time, so as many as 400 turtles could be released each year,” he added.

The new prices, which will come into effect from 1 September, are $19.00 per pound for turtle steak, $9.00 per pound for turtle stew meat, $7.00 per pound for menavelins, and $4.50 per pound for bone. All prices are in CI$ and each type of product is sold in five-pound lots. For turtle stew, for example, that is a 25% price drop.

However, the Cayman Turtle Farm remains the target of an international campaign to stop the breeding of the animals for meat and to re-invent the facility as a conservation centre.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals is still attempting to communicate with CTF management following its damning report, which exposed significant problems at the farm. The attention from the WSPA did lead to some improvements, including the recruitment of a full time vet and better conditions in the storage facilities.

However, concerns remain about the conditions and about releasing farm-reared turtles into the wild, regardless of the quarantine process.

In addition to the issues raised by the animal welfare charity, the farm continues to be a significant drain on public coffers, sucking in a subsidy of around $10 million per annum of public money to keep it open.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    While i don't eat turtle meat personally, there are too many untruths spoken on here regarding the production of turtle meat at the farm.  One should remember that the farm was profitable while it was on the other side of the road before a previous UDP administration run by the first elected idiot of west bay decided with advice from Carnival that we needed a place to force tourists to come and sit in concrete pools, swim next to sharks  and with fish imported from Florida and other nonsense.  This is where the subsidy is going not on the turtles.  This failing monstrosity has nothing to do with turtle meat or caymanian heritage.  It was a bad plan conceived by the Walmart of theseas (Carnival) in conjunction with the wast bay idiot.  It was then executed, financed and run poorly.  Now we have to pay for it.  If they close the rest of the "park" and stick to rearing turtles you'll see that it won't cost us a red cent because like before, they will be able to sell enough turtle meat to care for the ones that they don't butcher.  

  2. Animaliberator says:

    Eliminate poaching??? Do you really think poachers are poaching because of the price of the meat at the farm? Are you serious? They poach because it is freeand they know the odds of being caught by officials is next to none. Poaching is usually a night time event, you know, when everybody else is sleeping. You want to catch poachers? You will have to be up and about when they are, regardless of time of day or night.


    Nice try CTF but you will have to do much better to justify your presence besides selling meat which is not going to save it anyway no matter how low the cost would be, also as your quantity will likely not go up either to a point when it would make a big difference. As a result, CTF again gets less money and us the public would have to pay even more to keep the doors open the way it stands now.

  3. what a strange world we live in says:

    What a strange world we live in.    A subsidy of CI$10,000,000.00 {ten million dollars] annually, Two hundred ninety nine turtles die mysteriously because of a supposedly broken pipe,  the road was blocked off to repair this broken pipe that went under the street, but the road remained intact during the supposedly urgent repairs, this supposedly broken pipe cost one poor "non management" employee his job, and no one talked about orseems to recall exactly which method  to dispose of these 299 dead turtle.

    Now they have dropped the price of turtle meat which I assume that when it was raised earlier it was done to help defray the cost of the $10M Government subsidy. And suddenly the male turtles  has   become as excited as a bunch of drunken sailors in a Japanese brothel. Humping everything in sight! These are some sudden miraculous happenings! 

    Here is a quote from the article above! CTF Managing Director Tim Adam said the price decrease is the result of several factors, including increased egg and hatchling production at the farm. ??? And a quote from the Cayman Compass! The management of the turtle farm said: "NEW METHODS" had enabled it to "GREATLY" increase production and drop prices. And this one: It is believed that the new price structure will create a fresh surge in demand for turtle meat, "WHICH FARM BOSSES" insist is still A MUCH WANTED LOCAL DISH. DAAAH! You should have thought of that when everyone were crying about the exorbitant price hike that you insisted on when you first got there!

    Why did these non thinking farm bosses not realize this when they upped the price thru the ceiling right after they took over. To put it bluntly I am of the opinion that if we don't get someone like Dr. Wood back at the Turtle farm in short order, we can look forward to it's demise. Because we cannot afford to hold on to something that will eventually drive us into the poor house!      

  4. Bubba Conch says:

    How many people actually eat turtle? As a taxpayer, I don’t see why it should be my responsibility to help fund the eating habits of a dwindling number of people who can’t change their dietary traditions. If people insist on eating turtle then they should have to buy shares in the turtle farm or contribute to the costs of running it.

    I bet they won’t want to put their money where their mouth is.

    This is all simple economics. We simply cannot afford to spend $10,000,000 a year to produce turtle meat.

    • Anonymous says:

      I'd buy shares in the Turtle Farm. Not Bosun's Beach. Therein lies the crus. The Farm isn't costing millions in subsidies. (Not saying its currentyl breaking even, I don't beilieve their production increase has actualyl affected the harvest-age turtles yet, but its not losing as much money as the rest of the operation.) – Your problem is that we all have shares in Company Cayman, you've just been outvoted by the rest of the shareholders who want to invest in a Turtle Farm. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The subsidy has nothing to do with subsiding people who want to eat turtle or spending $10m to produce turtle meat. Back in the 1990s the turtle farm turned a profit and had many more turtles than it has now.  Then McKeeva turned it into Boatswain's Beach and it has been downhill ever since.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hurrah!.  The price of barbarism has come down. 

  6. Sinbad says:

    Well I am very happy to hear of the news. This is very much a part of Cayman's heritage as much as burgers and fries is a staple of the great USA. What baffles me is that everyone that comes to our shores keeps knocking away at our way of life and attempt to introduce their way of life. This is wrong! When one comes to another mans country you respect their way of life and their laws of the land.

    imagine a caymanian going to the USA and telling congress that they should stop eating burgers and fries and see what kind of response you all non turtle eaters would get. 

    Those poor beautiful cows, why would anyone want to eat these furry little creatures…..see what I mean.

    just leave us alone to continue our tradition and our way of life!

    • Anonymous says:

      a nice mixture of ignorance and stupidity……

      • Anonymous says:

        15.45 as a non turtle eating expat, I think the main poster has a point, and it is you showing a lack of respect for others culture in a land where I am guessing you too are a guest. Nobody minds the Hondurans (or other nations) catching and eating the green iguana's here because they are ugly, crap everywhere and get in the way. The issue is that turtles are touchy feely with a cool image and that is what upsets everybody. The turtle farm may need much better management, but it is putting a lot of turtles back into the sea as well as preventing wild turtle destruction by selling farm raised meat. No different to cows, pigs, sheep, even fish.


        Given that all you can do is state that the orignal poster is ignorant and stupid and not put up any kind of logical or reasonable counter arguement, and that is all you could manage, one really has to wonder if you were looking in the mirror at the time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sinbad…your way of life, eh? Your way of life is to kill and eat an ENDANGERED species? It has nothing to do with the Cayman way or the way of life. This is wrong to be farming these majestic turtles. Cows are absolutley not comparable by any means, they are not endangered. Our fight for this place to not run as a farm WILL NEVER GO AWAY. We will not be blinded by this absurd behavior. You know its wrong, you know its not right to slaughter these animals. Rethink your high positivity, realize what really is going on.

      • Anonymous says:

        Endangered when they are not harvested from the wild??? These are turtles of the endangered species bred in captivity in large numbers for food and some released in the wild to increase their numbers, so that they are not considered endangered in the future (sounds like preservation to me)…therefore your argument is invalid! Make some sense when you reason! Go to America  and tell them not to force-feed, inject harmones and cram more than enough animals into a small space all in the name of the almighty dollar and the expense of the consumer's health! This is a Cayman tradition operating at a loss and being held onto to for the sake of maintaining that tradition. Go find something to do, for God's sake!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Leads me to wonder, if the resturants are stil going to charge an arm and leg now….

  8. Anonymous says:

    Interesting to compare the photos CNS vs. the Compass uses for this story. Difference in agenda, I guess.  

  9. Anonymous says:

    What?! This place is costing us millions a year. The price should be higher and the turtles that are not sold as a result should be released! Why do you people enjoy eating it anyway? This is madness.

  10. Anonymous says:

    how about stepping up efforts to catch poachers and then enforce meningful penalties against them???????????

  11. Anonymous says:

    They had to come down on there prices or lock shop! It’s not right that 5lbs of meat is a man daily salary=$100!

  12. Anonymous says:

    welcome to caymankind where we are reducing the price of the meat of an endangered species….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Unnalookya says:

      Anonymous Friday 13:45 … before you go off into your z's, at least try to tell the whole story: an endangered species yes, BUT one that is farmed in Cayman so as to supply the demand for the meat without taking any of that species from the wild!

      • Anonymous says:

        anon 1049 lets not forget the same one that is still returning many turtles to the wild.

        Why in the world are two agencies that are fighting for the survival of turtles fighting against each other.

        The turtles farm has been around for quite a while now and has done more for the survival of the turtle that has anyone. And yet we got these dont think attacking them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh Shut Up!!! Zzzzzzzz