Photo: BVI Government Information Service. Taking of undersized turtles is strictly forbidden.

ROAD TOWN, BVI–December 7th,2020–Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Theodore E. James has said that his department was made aware of a video in circulation regarding the illegal capture of seven Green sea turtles which have since been rescued and released.

Mr. James said investigations into the matter are ongoing and is reminding the public that no person shall remove from the fishery waters, expose for sale, sell, purchase or have in possession any undersized turtle or catch a Leatherback Sea-Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) or Loggerhead Sea–Turtle (Caretta caretta) on which there is a moratorium.

Image: BVI Government Information Service. This poster spells out the do’s and don’ts of taking turtles in the BVI. But no mention of the penalties for breaking the law.

A moratorium he said means that these sea turtles are strictly prohibited from being caught at any time, even during turtle season, from December 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. Undersized means a carapace (shell) length less than 24 inches for Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and less than 15 inches for Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata).

The Director said, A person licensed to fish in the Territory by the department must be approved to capture turtles within their license conditions. Not all licensed fishers possess this approval and buyers are responsible to inquire to ensure that intended purchases are legal.”

Persons can view the different Marine Turtles in the Territory at: https://bvi.gov.vg/sites/default/files/resources/bvi_marine_turtles.pdf

To report illegal fishing, contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries at 468-6123/6124.