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Brexit red tape preventing Barnacle Bill’s return to warmer waters

Brexit red tape preventing Barnacle Bill’s return to warmer waters

Monday 25 March 2024

Brexit red tape preventing Barnacle Bill’s return to warmer waters

Monday 25 March 2024

Export issues and delays in receiving paperwork to return a washed-up loggerhead turtle to Gran Canaria mean the animal is still receiving care in Guernsey.

‘Barnacle Bill’ – as the animal has been dubbed – washed up in the north of the island after Storm Ciaran ripped through and was found by a local couple covered in barnacles.

She was taken into the care of the GSPCA and five months letter is de-barnacled and doing well, putting on weight. 

The charity hoped to send her to the Canaries where a turtle rescue centre operates and were even offered a flight from the island by a member of the public. 

But delayed paperwork from the Spanish government is holding up her return, and a direct flight may not be possible adding cost and delay.


Pictured: Barnacle Bill weighed less than a kilo once all the barnacles were removed from her shell.

“Although thankfully we received the Guernsey export paperwork very quickly thanks to the States vets, we are still awaiting the Spanish import paperwork and we may have some other challenges to face,” GSPCA Manager Steve Byrne said. 

“To move endangered species like loggerhead turtles we require export and import Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora documents. 

It had been hoped that a generous offer from locals with an aircraft meant Bill would be able to fly directly from Guernsey to Gran Canaria just after Christmas, but that’s now up in the air. 

“Currently there are concerns we might not be able to fly direct due to the UK being outside of the EU and we are awaiting clarification on what might need doing and what options we have,” Mr Byrne said. 

"The last turtle pre-Brexit, the process was much easier and we are aware of eight turtlealso needing to be transported to the same rescue from the UK in similar situations." 

While the charity awaits further information, it’s calling on islanders with a heated swimming pool to open it up to Bill who will soon require more space to swim and grow. 

“The most important thing is we need to get Barnacle Bill back where she belongs as she is growing every day, and we may need to find her much larger swimming quarters.” 


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