Some Jamaicans were outraged at the vicious butchering of a sea turtle in Alligator Pond, Manchester, that was caught on camera recently.
However, THE STAR has learned that these turtles are commonly harvested and eaten by men hoping to boost their sex drive.
THE STAR spoke with a long time fisherman, Jason Smith, who claimed that eating turtles improves his sexual prowess.
“Me eat it [turtles] of course! It build up you sex drive and give you the gum and glamity. It make you feel like superman. It good fi you body because a di strongest meat pan di face of the Earth!,” he said.
Smith admitted that his friends also consume the reptilian meat and have reported a similar improvement in their sexual performance.
THE STAR understands that men who wish to partake in the forbidden ‘delicacy’ shell out big bucks for it.
“Mi just buy a piece of it, me nuh buy the whole thing. We do it just like when dem kill goat and everybody buy a little piece. One pound costs $500 and $1,000 fi one plate if me prepare it,” Smith said.
As it relates to how the turtles are prepared for consumption, Smith said it is cooked similar to other meats.
“Dem cook it up like chicken, beef or pork and you can curry it up or cook it with beans. You can cook it any way you like it,” Smith said, while adding that turtle meat tastes similar to other meats.
Smith admitted that he is aware of this illegal activity so the transactions and consumption are conducted covertly and infrequently.
Andrea Donaldson, manager of the Ecosystems Management Branch at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), said turtle meat and eggs have long been considered to be aphrodisiacs.
She added that there has been no scientific proof to support the claim, but theorised where the myth might have come from.
“It might be because people look at the longevity of turtles because they live for very long, up to 30 years,” Donaldson said.
According to NEPA, turtles are protected under the Wild Life Protection Act and it is illegal to possess or consume turtles or their eggs. If convicted of such acts, the culprit can be fined up to J$100,000 or spend a year in prison.