UPDATE Oct. 18, 2007 - This petition along with accompanying letters, documents and articles, has now been submitted to The Bahamas Prime Minister, Minister of Fisheries, and Minister of Tourism. Please continue to sign and forward the petition. It will be left active and online until the Bahamian government action requested has been taken! As well it continues being updated. Check the last turtle rescue photoalbum at the end!
Urge the Bahamas Government to Ban the Catching and Killing of Endangered Sea Turtles!
Dear Bahamas Prime Minister , Minister of Tourism and Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources;
I am writing to ask you to ban the catching, possession, and slaughter of endangered sea turtles in the Bahamas. I was horrified to learn that the Bahamas Fisheries laws allow the catching and killing of certain of these turtles despite the Bahamas being a party to CITES, which lists all marine turtles as endangered or threatened.
I was further horrified to learn of the usual method employed by Bahamians of keeping these turtles captive while awaiting a buyer. They are flipped upside down, rendering them helpless and unable to move, and often left in the sun for days in this manner, which results in dehydration and tremendous suffering. They are then killed by either decapitation or slitting their throat. This practice is animal cruelty as defined in the Penal Code of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Sections 223, 225, 226 and 230.
Please click here to see the rescue of 3 Loggerhead turtles on Sept. 3rd, 2007:
A second photoalbum has been added to the first one, containing pictures of the second and third rescues:
Five of the seven species of sea turtles are found in Bahamian waters; these are the Loggerhead, Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback and Kemp's Ridley turtles. While current Fisheries laws prohibit the taking of Hawksbill turtles, they allow the taking of Loggerhead and Green turtles, and do not address the Leatherback or Kemp's Ridley turtles at all. The only prohibitions imposed upon fishermen are a closed season from April 1 to July 31, and a minimum back size length of 24" for Green turtles and 30" for Loggerhead turtles.
Many of these turtles were born in countries like Mexico and the United States, where effective laws and enforcement are in place to optimize their survival. It is a travesty for them to be protected in their birthplace yet when they are grown and migrate to the Bahamas they are subject to being killed.
Most of the world's developed countries recognize the threat of extinction to these magnificent, benign, gentle creatures and their importance to the seas' ecosystems, and have implemented laws aimed at their protection. There are already myriad threats to sea turtles' survival including irresponsible development, garbage and contaminated water. Protection of sea turtles is becoming a large consideration in the fast growing eco-tourism sector, and if the Bahamas continues to allow this barbaric, senseless practice, it will likely negatively affect your tourism economy.
It is reprehensible that the Bahamas is a party to CITES, yet ignores the CITES classification of sea turtles, and allows the harvesting of any of these animals.
Please stop contributing to the decline of these species by immediately banning the catching and killing of ALL sea turtles!
UPDATE: ANOTHER TURTLE RESCUED!!
On Friday, Sept. 14th, 2007, the Humane Society of Grand Bahama was contacted by a private citizen who had seen a loggerhead turtle for sale
in Freeport. The individual was concerned about repercussions if we
tried to make a cruelty case out of it, and offered to fund the purchase
of the turtle instead to save its life. Once again the Humane Society
and employees of Unexso sprang into action. Marine Biologist Pedro
Baranda of the Underwater Explorers Society examined the animal; while she was somewhat dehydrated he deemed her fit for release and she was released from a boat offshore a short while later. While we are all very happy to have saved one more, obviously we cannot find and purchase every turtle caught in the Bahamas. We should not have to! Killing sea turtles should be prohibited at any time, and it is completely outrageous and shortsighted that "turtle season" in the Bahamas coincides with the peak nesting period for these animals. It is also shortsighted that while there is a minimum size limit, there is no maximum, which means it is legal under Bahamas Fisheries laws to capture fully mature turtles who are the most critical in terms of reproducing.
UPDATE: A FIFTH TURTLE RESCUED!
Another turtle was sent to me today (Fri, Sep 14 2007) at 6:44. She was tied as a piece of meat! This one is the biggest turtle this far, and despite she was pierced to be tightly tied, she was in good shape to be released. When will we stop harvesting and start taking care of our enviroment? This last turtle was at least 50 years old. She was in misery, but happily thanks to Tyrone and Caroline Anderson, she is swimming free beyond human reach. But the question arises: for how long...?
UPDATE: SIXTH AND SEVENTH TURTLES RESCUED! Click on the link to see the photoalbum:
UPDATE: AN EIGHT SEA TURTLE RELEASED
Thanks again to Tyrone Anderson and his quick response, an eight turtle was rescued by the team. She was in very good shape and was released right away. Her rescue pictures can be found here:
You have the last word. You don't have the last turtle. But you might...
March 03, 2008 update:
A ninth Sea Turtle was brought to the facility to be evaluated prior to her release. The approximately 30 years old animal (a female) had an old shark bite on her shell and was merciless hogtied. She was a TAGGED ANIMAL but the tag was RIPPED OFF her fin by her slaughters. She made it to the ocean after being taken care and we are proud of being part of a team that gave her a second opportunity
Even more: These pictures were taken in Nassau, more rescues made by concerned citizens:
10th Sea turtle. Click here: