What’s so Great about Turtles?

A video that answers this important question from the mind of a Bahamian high school student!  Following the 2009 ban of the capture of any turtles, many Bahamians were outraged. But this video strives to show why we should not be outraged, but should in fact be proud. How do you feel about the Turtle Ban? Let us know.

Brought to you by Friends of the Environment, Loggerhead Productions and James Boyce, winner of Abaco’s 2010 Wild & Scenic student film contest.

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  1. What an amazing and inspiring video. Bravo James and crew.

  2. Great job! Protect the turtles – they ARE cool!!!

  3. AWESOME!! BRAVO!! Great job James, Matt and the rest of the Loggerheads crew. Nice Hawksbill footage over the reef as well, I might add – :)! Amazing footage all around and great music!

  4. Stunning footage and great storytelling! Thanks for sharing this wonderful production.

  5. Congratulation on your video!!! Very well documented and amazing footage! I hope you found the way to make sure all the schools in the Bahamas are watching it!! The children are our future and can influence our present. I really liked your approach and I truly hope it inspires your countrymen! Have you heard of the city of Akumal in Mexico? They created a turtle santuary and they have lots of turists from around the world visit year after year! It has attracted lots of new business to the area while protecting the turtles. Here is a link to one of their centers

    I visited them a few years ago and we are planning to go back again this year. I hope this helps you, your community, and your beautiful turtles! Thank you for everything you are doing for the turles and yor community!

  6. What a great message and incredible video! Keep up the good work. Turtles ARE cool.

  7. The video was well done. I enjoyed it. I support the turtle ban, and think that students throughout the Bahamas should watch this video.

  8. I’m really impressed with the video. Great work for a wonderful cause from another turtle lover! Let’s see more …

  9. BRAVO, BRAVO!!! Marvelous and compelling video…Every turtle counts. They are so majestic and thrilling to see while snorkeling. If people are not starving, they need not take to eat, or for any other reason. The native Bahamians, I’m sorry to say have been caught repeatedly eating the baby conch!! It is not an entitlement. Save the turtles AND the Conch!

  10. Hey love the video,I have one too! It’s of me using 308 to blow his head off! and then making turtle steaks out of him,mmmmmmmmmmmm! I think this turtle ban is a buncha foolishness!I wanna know how we Bahamians can let some animal rights organization, who saves animals but kills babies,come into our country,and tell us what we should do and must do. We’ve been eating turtles since time began.Just like we eat chicken, fish, apples or coconuts.No difference.God created all things for man to eat.Reed the New Testament. (There’s a place for all Gods creatures,right along side potatoe salad and macaroni and cheese!)

    • You should truly be ashamed of yourself and your primitive attitude on this matter. We are talking about an endangered species! It will be gone forever if you pursue this policy. Don’t you get it or is your mind truly that small and backwards?

      • Dude,I just dound your site… Bad ass….. Thats all i can say. I grew up on teh turtles and I have aawlys wanted to see them depicted in a more realistic/darker light. Cause lets face it, your grow up in teh sewers constantly being attacked by some crazy dude dressed in purple.. your going to be a little bit pissed off!

    • Hey this is so true Mr. Pinder…. I totally agree… Personal harvesting of turtle I think is perfectly fine… I don’t see why we can’t catch the turtle if we only want to feed ourselves and our family… I think this ban should be only for commercial harvesting…

      • The other side of the coin...

        If everyone were allowed to harvest turtles for personal consumption, there wouldn’t be any more turtles about. I see how my peoples go with things like the conch, crawfish, and even small scale fish… if they are there, they will kill every one they can. No thought is given to just taking what is needed for “a meal”. Even with turtles, I knew of people that would kill them on site, just because they could get them and then give the meat away to others.

        In my father’s time, it was an essential food source because they had very little to survive off of. Now there is no “need” for turtles to be eaten – no matter how much you enjoy it. Thankfully this is a practice that will die off over the course of a generation or two.

  11. i am cajun and we have eat turtle which is our heritage living off the land though mostly those of fresh water i only eat turtles not end endangered and only young ones since i have seen turtles that had to be one hundred years old



  12. WOW ! What a beautifully done video. Of course I wouldn’t expect anything less from my former student, James ,who was the “Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year” when he was in Grade 6, and the great production team of the Conch Salad gang. Way to go everyone !

  13. Comments such as the one made on September 24th by Mr. Dino Pinder only serve to showcase HIS ignorance and immaturity ( you don’t HAVE to be young to be immature). He is probably incapable of being ashamed of himself. Every single species of sea turtle in the world is in danger of disappearing…but the “all for me baby” attitude prevails amongst those who cannot understand the concept of conservation, or care about the world our grandchildren walk in. Thank God there are more of “us” and less of “them” in this country and around the world.
    Mr. Pinder, grow up and do your “homework”. And what is this garbage about killing babies! really….

    • Dino has nothing to be ashamed of. Where we live we have turtles that die of old age and we have been eating them forever. We take what we want to eat because they are darn tasty.Turtle are flourishing in the Bahamas and they will continue to do so if they are not harvested for export.People like you trying to make Dino sound stupid are funny.Dino forgot more last night about the sea than you know.Go to Outback tonight and have a big slab of cow, I will eat turtle.

  14. Sue and George Holloway

    Well done, James. It will take lots of effort to promote the ban on harvesting turtles, and your video is just about the best method. Keep up the good work!

  15. Mr. Pinder may have been a bit course for some people’s tastes (couldn’t resist the pun), but fundamentally what’s wrong with his thoughts? Individual use for personal consumption is far different from commercial plundering of various species that are becoming rare in other places (but not the Bahamas, according to the video itself). I don’t know how much to believe about the alleged “endangered” status of various creatures, though I certainly don’t want to see anything disappear altogether due to human overkill. But this knee jerk all-or-nothing approach makes little more sense than no limits on commercial harvesting of any potential food source.

    As for Mr. Pinder’s statement regarding killing of babies, find me even a small handful of animal rights extremists that are also as passionate about anti-abortion laws. ‘Nuf said.

    The video’s statement that “it’s amazing that we see so many turtles in the Bahamas” doesn’t do much for the “logic” of the video’s argument. And citing a few cases of extortion of tourists is an absurd argument. Prosecute the offenders under existing extortion laws. Beautiful video? Absolutely. Logical, sensible video? Not even close.

  16. The turtle ban had nothing to do with us as we were not consulted. Turtles being harvested for food suddenly took on more importance than people being robbed and killed. The passage of this bill truly indicated how special interest really run things in our country. Why ban the killing of such a good tasting animal. Next, we’ll ban cow, sheep, goat and chicken.

  17. I think the total ban on the turtle was too extreme, there should be a ban on commercial fishing for them, but just as there is a season and a bag limit for other species of fish and fowl I believe the same could have been done for turtles. I’ll bet you that the turtles are still caught by persons who like the tasty meat.

  18. I watched the video. Now I have a real hankering for some fresh turtle steak, maybe grilled turtle or steamed. So many out there I might have one of each!!!!

  19. Seeing a wild turtle snorkling or scuba diving is one of the great attractions that bring tourists to the Bahamas. So be grateful you can earn your living from the tourism industry, and eat chicken. The tourists aren’t coming to admire our chickens. But they are coming to see our turtles.

  20. As one who grew up in south FLorida, ate green turtle steak/ black beans and rice and heard about turtle egg pankcakes at Cap’s in Lighthouse Point (near Pompano) I realy know and understand why the turtle needs protection—we are using up all of earth’s resources.
    Consider the conch–when I was kid and snorkeling in the Florida Keys-we’d say what’s for lunch or dinner? I dunno–let’s grab a few conch and we did–now where are they. Little did we or our parents know in the 50s & 60s.
    Can we not learn—let’s save some for (visual) enjoyment tomorrow.

    Bravo on the video.

    Bill Louda (Loxahatchee Florida and Rainbow Bay Eleuthera)

  21. There should be a turtle ban. People have a tendancy to overdo things, so if there was no ban people might cause them to become scarce or an endangered species or extinct. I was born after 1995 so sorry if I sound semi-immature.

  22. I am understanding that grouper and other predators are destroying a large number of turtles in early life at first entrance into the sea and Bahamian law does not allow catching those that survive predatoral consumption and grow to adulthood. I am amazed that they are allowed to age and vanish away. More of them to the national park in Exuma for raising and the ban should relate only to commercial activity.

  23. Hello,

    I enjoy the video and congratulate the student for taking a deeper interest in our country, its culture and resources than many young people today.

    Some of you may remember me as a leader in the campaign against this outrageous, ignorant ban on sea turtle harvesting, even for personal consumption.

    This ban has nothing to do with science, conservationism or respect for our environment.

    Many countries in our region protect turtles against commercial harvesting yet have sufficient respect for the centuries old culinary cultures of their people to stop short of criminalising the TINY scale personal consumption that continues (including by me).

    The ban is the result of small-minded,ignorant people who were appalled by what their prejudiced little minds saw as primitive Bahamian cultural practices. They succeeded not by reasoning, but because unlike most of us with day jobs, they are a tiny group of very rich people who could commit their time to shaming and harassing our politicians and giving the false impression that they had some real support across teh community.

    They achieved this latter goal partly by brainwashing naturally kind-hearted children into seeing it as a simple people-who-love-cute-turtles against people-who-hate-cute-turtles contest. Most of the signatories of their petition were in fact shool children. Shame on them.

    But worry not. I have more than 7 thousand signed petitions by IDENTIFIED bahamians and residents, calling for a repeal of the ban. Before the election season heats up, I want to have 15 thousand. That is the appropriate time to act.

    Interested Bahamians and supporters may contact me at 327 5315 in working hours and leave a message for Andrew Allen. I will be sure to contact you.

    • It is your comments and your position that have nothing to do with science, conservation or respect for the environment and everything to do with national vanity and archaic reasoning. Petty national pride is what it is, which, sadly, far too many Bahamians suffer from far too regularly. For the highly intelligent person that I know you are, your stance is shockingly ignorant and very limited in its vision, perspective and scope. Sad really. Your talents could be used so much more productively, but you have chosen petty nationalism, petty vanity and petty pride as your preferred position. Protecting our national environment and the abundant sea creatures that delight our people and delight our visitors should be something that any right thinking Bahamian can understand and grasp the importance of, no matter their level of education, understanding or age. It is only you, Mr Allen, that have adopted this ignorant stance for your own petty pride and vanity.

  24. One reason the turtle ban was put in because the so called great bahamas culture is to disrequard every rule and do what you want , We see undersize crawfish everyday , over limits on out of season nassau grouper . the typical bahamain can not be trusted to follow the law, so a outright ban is best.

  25. The problem with stereotypers is that they never let the facts get in their way.

    There are rule breakers EVERYWHERE, but the Bahamas stands out in this region for the low level of resources-depleting behavior. Ask any Dominican, Honduran or indeed Floridian poacher found in our waters and they will laugh at how fish in the Bahamas are allowed to die of old age. Having stripped their own resources, they view ours with envy.

    For your information, the Bahamas has stood out as the only area of the Atlantic where in recent times turtle populations have increased HUGELY. Any fisherman can tell you of the damage this has meant to traps. This is because local consumption has been nowhere near sufficient to pressure populations.

    Florida, on the other hand, has been the worst place for turtles. Destruction of habitat by unrestrained and insensitive development in Florida has actually flushed populations to Abaco and Grand Bahama.

    Mr. Lofts, whoever you are (and I assume you are a product of the US educational system given your inability to spell), go and inform yourself before sharing your opinions.

    • You don’t spell any better and who are you the grammar cop. It has nothing to do with traps or half of the other miss information you spew out might like ! might as well kill something rather than let it just live its life and die naturally what a pile of hog wash you spew . It’s about being responsible to the environment , as our world grows in population old methods need to change or we will soon strip out ever resource we once cherished . I cried when I saw a lovely big turtle on its back in a pickup truck in Nassau its eyes near closed from almost death tears rolling down its cheek as the vender hacked off a fin from that poor live animal just to sell to someone to make a buck . What do you call that other then barbaric. You act poor oh we need to kill turtles so we can live they were going to die anyways yet like most people who whine to much about killing things to live then you go and buy big gold necklace . PS I will give my opinion when and how I feel so get use to it.

  26. Wow, you really are on a planet of your own making.

    You answered none of my points, but managed to create fictitious ones (like my allegedly advancing poverty as an excuse for eating turtles and my alleged indifference to inhumane butchering of turtles). You then commence to duel with these figments of your imagination in a manner that would make Don Quixote proud.

    I would not seek to tell you which possums, coons, gators or other critters to eat stateside. Do not tell us what marine diet to choose for ourselves in The Bahamas. Our record has been better than yours.

    As for conservation, the Bahamian people have set aside more of their marine and terrestrial environment as national trust land than anyone else on earth, including the United States. Black and white Bahamians love, respect and protect our environment. Even our defence force is charged with protecting our environment, rather than launching illegal wars.

    Thanks for your advice, but no thanks.

  27. who said i was a american spent many a year here on the water fishing and 12 years with basra so I dont know where you get your facts from but we bahamians are a wreck when it comes to the enviroment , garbage and filth all over , wrecked cars all over , locals dont follow the simple rules there are now for fishing, we take small crawfish and use bleach is that proper no but most do it . you paint a nice picture but it has no reality to what I see everyday here in the bahamas. you state black and white bahamains love the enviroment BS is that why they throw every thing out the car window as they drive , is that why they dump their old batteries in the sea and leave old cars in there yard . If we did not work to protect wild life you would eat it all just because it will die anyways. how sad .

  28. Dear Sir

    Please keep me ionform concering the Turtle Ban ,should there be a Seasoned Turtel.


    • Oh my gosh that is sooooooooooo cool!If I had my class again this year I wloudn’t be able to wait for the month I teach reptiles. Their favorite part of that unit is where I teach the difference between turtles and tortoises. The last few years I have been able to bring in two large tortoises. They would LOVE to see these pictures.Jealous!

  29. Turtles are a traditional food source. It is good to put a preservation ban on the capture of turtles. However, the initial research should have said how long the ban must be before the turtle population returns to a level where we could use the turtles a possible food source.

    This is the same question raised by the Inuits and the Japanese about the whale.

  30. Time to stop looking to wild animals for food we have 7 billion people now if they ate only wild animals the entire world would eat them all in a few weeks . Time and time again man has proven he can not be trusted to follow the rules as the black rino is now extinct.

    All six species of sea turtles that swim in U.S. waters and the caribiean are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Despite being protected under the ESA for more than 30 years, no species has recovered enough to be removed from the list and many populations continue to decline.

    Whales are in the same group you dont need to hunt them and chicken is cheaper so time to learn to perserve what we have .

  31. Andrew i would like to know where you get your so called facts you said bahamas has more reserved or trust water and land then usa not even close just one good size us park is three times bigger then the entire 13940 sq km of the whole bahamas

    Twenty-seven states have national parks, as do the insular areas of American Samoa and the United States Virgin Islands. Alaska and California have the most, each with eight, followed by Utah with five and Colorado with four. The largest national park is Wrangell–St. Elias, at over 8,000,000 acres (32,000 km2), followed by three more in Alaska; the smallest is Hot Springs, at less than 6,000 acres (24 km2). The total area protected by national parks is approximately 51,900,000 acres (210,000 km2), for an average of 895,000 acres (3,620 km2)

  32. Fred, you are somewhat misleading in that you are just referring to the land mass of the Bahamas. The “Bahamas” as a whole is larger than Florida, are you saying you have parks 3 times bigger than the state of Florida?
    Anyway, all those eggs and only about one turtle will survive? If this is true, then maybe we need to save those little turtles until they get bigger, then release them. Makes sense to me. I go snorkeling practically every day in Exuma and might see one turtle in 2 weeks. So obviously there are not that many turtles around. I do however know a few places that I can go and definitely see a turtle or two. I agree with a commercial ban, not an outright ban, but if we can have a program and save those other 99 turtles, then we can have our cake (turtle) and eat it too. Plus the turtle reserve could be another tourist attraction too. It’s a win win situation. The highlight of any snorkeling or scuba trip is to see a turtle. By the way, I don’t eat turtle!

  33. Yes, Raymond, you are exactly right.

    We ALL agree to a commercial ban. I did long before most. Like most Bahamians, i have eaten turle rarely. It is something that we, as urbanised people will never do to any degree that threatens the population.

    What has been surprising in all this is the extent to which bahamians from the out islands (and especially white Bahamians) have recognised the difference between a commercial ban and a CULTURAL ban. The former is past due, the latter has never been shown to be necessary in any kind of logical or scientific way.

    By the way, i also would like to see STRONGER legislation regarding cruelty to animals in general. This would rightly criminalise those who engage in the monstrous slaughter of turtles that we all have witnessed from time to time.

    None of this justifies an outright ban of the kind that would send the abaco housewife or acklins fisherman to jail for simply engaging in the culinary culture of their forebears.

  34. Well done on the video James.

    After reading all of these comments, i feel compelled to leave a comment. I would like to say that i have a neutral view-point in this issue, having never eaten turtle in my life (clap-clap-clap) and being a very cultural Bahamian. Personally, i believe that culture is what defines a country and is very important. However, I do not believe that people should be allowed to continue to hunt an endangered species, regardless of how numerous it might seem to them. Just because a turtle is a common sight in our waters, does not mean that these endangered creatures should continue to be exploited. All species of turtles in our waters are endangered and at growing risk.

    As for the claims of Bahamians (for want of a better term) holding turtles at ransom for money, they are true. Having witnessed this first hand on Montague Beach in the Bahamas, i think this is despicable and rubs many tourists the wrong way. And there were many Bahamians involved with the turtle ban as well, not just the very wealthy foreigners. I think i might have signed a petition myself.

    To this day i continue to hear stories of people slaughtering turtles for personal use and disregarding the law. And lets face it, the law is not strictly enforced. Turtles are continuing to be caught. If it is to remain in effect, more must be done to enforce it and educate people about it.

    I understand that some Bahamians pride themselves on culture, rightly so, but i think we should learn to pride ourselves on some other aspect of our culture.

  35. How divine…. Congratulations! XXXX

  36. Great video! Sea turtles are a migratory species and therefore you can’t say a Bahamian, a Jamaican or e.g. a Costa Rican turtle. After hatching they swim most of their life out in the ocean migrate thousands of miles before they come back to the beach where they hatched. Only females come back to the beach and it takes depending on which kind of turtle it is minimum 15 years to be able to reproduce. There are some turtle hatching beaches in the Bahamas but the main turtle hatching beaches in this region with relatively big numbers of turtles coming to lay eggs are in Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua and especially Costa Rica with el Tortuguero) and not in the Bahamas. Most turtles in the Bahamas unfortunately are not native Bahamian. They just migrate through the beautiful islands to hopefully survive 15-20 years to be able to lay eggs. Considering that they are a threatened species I am very happy about the ban. Tourist come to see the great marine life in the Bahamas and turtles are part of this.

  37. such an awesome video and narrated by an even greater kid. Footage is awesome, graphics, info, and everything else is so informative and captivating. Please continue to post more. My whole family watched this and LOVED it. Thank you!

  38. what are the turtle seasons