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Tis the Season: The Turtle-Watching Season In Montserrat

by Lou-Ann Jordan Jun 5, 2023

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Findyello article on turtle-watching in Montserrat with image of a hawksbill in the ocean

Marine turtles are amazing creatures. Every year, they travel long distances for the females to nest. Caribbean Sea waters are full of these magnificent creatures from March to August as they travel to familiar breeding grounds.

In Montserrat, several of our beaches become occupied as these creatures carry out their time-honoured tradition. Local authorities have instituted strict measures to ensure their safety as they nest. Furthermore, most recently, the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and the Environment (MALHE) alerted the public to Montserrat’s commitment to adhere to the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) regulations. With the UK as a CITES signatory, local legislation has been instituted to monitor and regulate the trade of endangered species, including sea turtles.

Globally, sea turtles’ existence is threatened, with the different species faring various extinction levels. For example, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List identifies leatherback turtles as vulnerable. Meanwhile, the Leatherback, Green and Hawksbill turtles common to our shores have been classified as endangered and critically endangered.

The problem lies with pollution, climate change and exploitation. Nevertheless, our adherence to the local guidelines and individual commitment to protecting the turtles goes a long way. In all likelihood, it’s the only way we can continue to enjoy these annual visits.

So, this year we encourage you to add turtle watching to your fun things to do in Montserrat list. Isle’s Bay, Old Road Bay, Lime Kiln Bay, Woodlands Beach and Bumkum Bay are popular nesting grounds for the turtles. You can take your pick and plan a trip with family or friends. Alternatively, you may want to book a tour with Scriber’s Adventures, MALHE or John Jeffers.

Now, to get you ready, especially if it’s your first-time turtle watching, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Rest during the day. The tour will be held late at night, so it’s best to rest during the day to be alert. You’ll enjoy it more.

Wear dark clothing. Also, a sweater is a good idea. Often, temperatures drop at night, and the sea breeze can be chilly.

Park at a distance. You can help protect the turtles by not driving on the beach. Park and walk on the shore.

Do not use flash photography. The flash of the camera can blind the turtle.

Refrain from making loud noises. Use hushed tones,especially around the nesting site.

Avoid drinking at the nesting site. Alcohol consumption at the site is strictly forbidden.

Do not litter. Maintain an anti-littering stance. It benefits the environment and the turtles.

Refrain from sitting on the turtles. It may be shocking, but it’s been done. You may watch, even gently stroke once guided, but do not sit on them.


For more information on our annual visitors or turtle-watching, you can contact MALHE or the Visit Montserrat website.

Sources: IUCN Red List, Visit Montserrat, and Britannica.