The National Conservation Council’s species conservation plan for sea turtles is heading soon to public consultation.
The NCC’s draft plan, ratified at last Wednesday’s (19 June) meeting, draws on 20 years of nesting data, designating the beaches with the highest density of nesting over that time as critical habitat.
To combat hatchling misorientation, which leads thousands of baby turtles to unnecessary deaths each year, the plan makes turtle-friendly lighting a requirement.
“For existing properties in and adjacent to sea turtle critical habitat, it is proposed that proprietors replace lighting that impacts the beach with turtle-friendly lighting within three years,” said DOE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie.
The warm amber glow of turtle-friendly lighting will also be a must for all new developments in the critical habitat upon its implementation.
The NCC’s turtle plan also takes a big step to address another top threat to the species – poaching.
“Legal turtle meat from the Cayman Turtle Centre will soon be sold and marked, individually identifiable and non-reusable bags, example, freezer safe, bar-coded bags with a tamper-evident seal which will identify legal turtle meat and allow law-enforcement officers to distinguish between legal and illegal meat,” said Ms. Ebanks-Petrie.
This species conservation plan has been in the works for three years, and the DOE told Cayman 27 it will be heading to public consultation in just a couple of weeks.