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BVI CFD Reminds Public of Turtle Ordinance

Mr. Lettsome made the statement following the discovery of a dead leatherback turtle, which was found at Josiah’s Bay on May 12, and officials have determined that the turtle was killed by someone. The turtle was tagged in the BVI by the Conservation and Fisheries Department research staff on Lambert’s Beach, Tortola four years ago. He said according to the 1997 Fisheries Act and 2003 Fisheries Regulations, “No person shall disturb, remove from fishery waters, expose for sale, sell, purchase or have in his possession any turtle’s eggs or interfere with any turtle nest or a turtle that is nesting.” – Chief Conservation and Fisheries Officer Mr. Bertrand Lettsome, in an interview with the Department of Information and Public Relations, has issued a warning to the public to cease and desist from disturbing endangered species.

Leatherback turtle found dead at Josiah’s Bay, Tortola on May 12, 2010.

“The turtle ordinance is one of the oldest environmental laws in the BVI and we have been protecting turtles for a very long time and there is no open season for leatherback turtles; persons who break the law will be imprisoned and fined to the full extent of the law.”
Mr. Lettsome also asked that persons cease from burning fires on beaches and having dogs loose on the beaches as both of these activities can prevent or disturb a turtle from nesting which can lead to a successful nest being destroyed.

The Fisheries Regulations, under the 1997 Fisheries Act, came into force on June 6, 2003. The act states that there shall be moratoriums (suspension) on the leatherback turtle, jewfish and loggerhead turtle for such period as the minister may determine by notice published in the Gazette and in a newspaper circulating in the Territory.

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