Local coral to be taken for eyelash product

| 22/12/2015 | 44 Comments

Gotgonian coral(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government has entered into a deal with a US-based cosmetic company to allow them to harvest coral tips from local waters to use in a beauty product for eyelashes. The firm wants to extract black sea rod oil from Gorgonian coral, or sea whip, which is common on Cayman’s reefs. It will be paying $25,000 per kilogram, which will go into the Environmental Protection Fund and may bring in as much as half a million dollars over the five year agreement.

Environmental experts said the controlled and limited harvest will allow the coral taken to grow back. The ministry with responsibility for the environment described the five year deal with Maxey Cosmetics, which makes a product that is marketed as helping eyelash growth, as an “example of sustainable use of the Cayman Islands marine environment”, as the harvesting of the tips from the relatively abundant coral will be done in a controlled and monitored way.

Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said that while ‘taking’ coral is generally prohibited in Cayman waters, the cosmetic firm agreed to the DoE’s conditions and Cabinet has therefore granted an exemption.

These conditions include restricting the harvesting to a defined location outside of any of the marine protected areas where only a specified amount of the coral tips will be collected, which allows the colony to regrow and to be sustained. The DoE will also monitor the collection and a royalty of CI$25,000 per kilogram wet weight will be paid to government, as well as a royalty for the oil that is extracted. The money will be deposited each quarter in Cayman’s Environmental Protection Fund and used to support the islands’ marine conservation.

“The agreement also requires Maxey and DoE to return to the collection site 8 to 12 weeks after the harvesting to re-photograph sampled colonies to document their condition and regrowth,” Ebanks-Petrie said.

Environment Minister Wayne Panton said the company’s record of sustainable use was vetted carefully by both the ministry and the department during the discussions that led to the agreement.

“Maxey has a proven track record with respect to their collection of gorgonians in Cayman waters, which it has been doing in previous collaborations with government for more than 30 years,” he said. “Through monitoring of collection sites, Maxey has demonstrated the long-term sustainability of their methods. This new agreement incorporates clauses that specifically take account of the provisions of our marine conservation legislation, as well as commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity regarding the need to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of a country’s genetic resources.”

According to the company’s website, the eyelash maintaining serum made using the coral oil sells for around $90 for 0.08fl oz. The company claims to base the creation of its beauty products on scientific research and black sea rod oil is said to activate eyelash growth and meet the demand in the beauty industry for ever thicker lashes.

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (44)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Brain Coral is the only one left untouched.

  2. Sunrise says:

    Can’t fish but you can have beautiful eyelashes!! Social unrest coming, hope you all are proud of what you are doing!!!!!!

  3. GR says:

    Just to be clear we are talking about a fast growing soft coral not a hard coral. This link (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Black_sea_rod_Plexaura_homomalla_(4675579531).jpg) shows the type of Gorgonian that will be sustainably harvested. And sustainable harvesting has been used around the world for decades.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What “was” the Cayman Islands number one tourist attraction? Scuba diving. Why? Our pristine reefs. What makes our reefs pristine? Unspoiled corals and sponges. How would the coral look with out tips? Maybe like a rose bush without roses?

  5. Anonymous says:

    DOE and everyone else must watch Racing Extinction film that just came out. Quite sobering.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Now where is SaveCayman the great environmental activists who are masquerading for SaveMyTenders campaign and the NCC in all of this, completely silent. The great hypocrisy of it all, obstruct our cruise port for 1-2 acres of coral in our commercial port and harbour, however it is OK to harvest and sell our coral for money. The Director of the DOE, the NCC, the EAB and the National Trust should all be ashamed of them selves. It clearly shows what the Director of the DOE who secretly conducts, orchestrates and heavily influences all these bodies is all about. Absolutely disgraceful. Shame on you all.

    • Anonymous says:

      ahhh, don’t worry, you will see the real activists soon enough….

    • Anonymous says:

      It seems reading and comprehension is a rare art. How exactly does destroying acres of coral compare to extracting the oil from the tips of them? The company has a track record that shows the coral replenish themselves and there is long term damage. Where’s the track record to show after destroying acres of coral you can go and check the regrowth within 8-10 weeks?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why don’t you check their page before making dumb comments?

  7. PPM Party Puppet Maniacs says:

    You might understand for Medical & Cancer research but growing eyelashes come on mannn can the PPM Reef Rapists get any more stupid!

  8. PPM Distress Signal says:

    Search who the local registered office of this particular company it will explain a lot and which minister is a former employer removes any doubt, but yet they cried and bald about the previous government’s corruption, conflicts of interest and regard for our environment but it would appear to some of us that so long as you hold hands in unison with our colonial masters you comply with all their desires and wishes to the detriment of you own people, they can even be wooed into allowing the PPM gov’t to rape and pillage our own fragile coral reefs eco systems which they have signed onto and sworn to the world they are going to protect. What it is Cayman is the PPM are so far up the UK’s A$$ they are impervious to international environmental rules laws and conventions. As for the DOE so long no locals enter our waters to even bathe erryting will be OK! I am just a puppet on a piece of plastic line which is now wrapped around my neck?

  9. frangipani says:

    what utter foolishness! makes one wonder what the next scheme will be

  10. Anonymous says:

    Cruise ship berths? Sure go ahead. Reef? F$$k the reef.

    Eyelashes with coral? Really? OK f$$k the reef!

    • Kyle Shultz says:

      What caymanians never seem to understand is that 90% of the countries which make their money from diving and water sports, have low GDP’s. For Cayman to truly be successful we have to become more like Jamaica and transform the island into the carribeans first mega city. If Cayman were a mega city the GDP could be 10x higher than it is now with the small cost of the environment.

      Diving will be obsolete in a few years anyways. the best optiom for Cayman would be to make one dive site with the best coral then use the old sites for more ports and development!

      We can make this dream come true as long as we keep Alden in for the next few terms. 🙂

      God Bless Cayman.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’ll play devil’s advocate on this one. That’s 44lbs of coral over the span of five years. That’s less than 9lbs a year, and will generate $100,000 per year.

    Math here:
    $500,000/$25,000 = 25 kilos
    25 kilos x 2.2 = 44lbs (over 5 years)
    44 / 5 = 8.8lbs per year

    Just for the record, I’m not an expert, nor do I pretend to be one.

  12. The Sentinel says:

    Since when does government enter into willy-nilly deals without consulting the people? Don’t be so silly, they will soon have some more GMO mosquitoes to release so some “government ” folk can get rich. We know exactly what happened, Oxitec know exactly what happened and if you pull that stunt again, the world will know. What do you think we are, ignorant? Stop abusing our natural resources and stop tinkering with nature that was here long before you and will be here long after you have gone. As for these sorry government appointed bodies who are supposed to be protecting us, well, shame on you.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The DOE and their special interest groups are a bunch of “Absolute Hypocrites” !!

    They won’t support the building of the cruise berthing facility (some destruction of live coral) but fully supports international snake oils salesmen, for extracting contents from live Cayman Islands marine coral – for cosmetic purposes.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I bet the “environmental experts” that say this is OK are paid for by those who want to profit from the arrangement.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Lobster are a protected species. Conch are a protected species. But both are allowed a “sustainable harvest” with conditions to preserve the futures of the species such as catch limits and closed seasons. Seems to me that pruning off the tips of a gorgonian that is proven to regenerate while adding a sizable profit to the Environmental Protection Fund is a reasonable initiative.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I honestly felt sick to my stomach reading this. Our government wants to sell our ONLY natural resource for pennies.

    We need to have a march to the governors house to prevent this from happening! Please let me know when and where the protest will start. I will be there for sure!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not that I know, but apparently this is close to the value of street cocaine? Not really pennies! Look how much washes up after a Nor’wester! Cocaine and sea fans!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I cannot believe this, we do not need to grow eyelashes. And the DOE never NEVER gets to spend the Environmental Contingency Fund in any event, it goes into general Gov’t coffers and DOE are always underfunded. IF, maybe IF the money went to DOE for care of the marine environment and enforcement of existing laws, I could get behind this. And all this while, volunteers are busting butts trying to rebuild coral reefs damaged – for no pay and no Gov’t assistance.

    • Robert says:

      Im gonna go rub coral on my head , that way my bald spot will thicken up with eyelashes , man this is great woo hoo .

  18. Anonymous says:

    Pardon us for feeling less than confident that the DoE will successfully manage/regulate the controlled harvest of plexaura homomalla (Caribbean sea whip/Black sea rod) given their alarmingly poor track record securing conch, grouper, whelk, lobster, and nesting turtle. One can imagine the red-eyed short-sighted knife-wielding criminal-idiots will now add sea fans and soft corals to their poacher buckets while they are down there in the normal course of helping themselves (with little risk of apprehension).

    Did the DoE bother to research if there was any validity to this non-FDA trialed or approved eyelash claim based on a paid sample study of 20-25 people? Kirk Maxey’s Cayman Chemical has been working on eyelash snake-oil for years and has had run-ins with FDA and Allergan in the past. There is also a JV co, called, Lasya Inc, with (we can be sure very reputable) operations in Estonia and Czech Republic selling an eyelash enhancer using same Black Sea Rod Oil.


    Snake oil salesmen are not the business people the Cayman Islands should be courting, even if they’ve fathered >400 children as Kirk Maxey has: http://www.cracked.com/article_19791_the-6-craziest-people-who-are-overpopulating-world_p2.html

    • Anonymous says:

      What makes you such an expert on all this? A quick search on google about Cayman Chemical – I think you will find Kirk Maxey supplies the Eastern European market, because they don’t find to many gorgonians in the Black Sea? I don’t know much about this deal, but I do know the DOE will have checked it completely. You spout off about their failure with conch, turtle, lobster and grouper, but last time I looked (on google if you care to check it) DOE were ranked pretty highly in their valid and scientific efforts to protect these species. Cayman is the last place with decent Nassau grouper populations, probably the most abundant in the Caribbean; conch populations remain stable – the US Florida Keys population never recovered despite nearly 3 decades of full protection; whelk can still be found (closed seasons help); and turtle are coming back from near extinction! A fairly damn good track record given how vociferously everyone objects to the slightest attempt to make this go further. What it does make clear is how valuable the truly natural resources of the island are! 25K per kilo of gorgonian means we have a lot of natural wealth out there. Why dredge it up for some tourists to spend few dollars a day on a t-shirt in George Town. I think this is good for Cayman. A sustainable use, with rewards, and with a potential to make a difference for generations to come.

    • Rhett says:

      Wow! And only for such a low price, eyelashes will grow! Hmmmmmm……utter nonsense…but women will buy….perhaps their lashes will fall out or it will cause eye issues of significance. What then? Money money money……..what else is new…..

  19. Anonymous says:

    Wow! This is greed and hypocrisy at its worst! I’m ashamed to be a Caymanian at times like these! So much I’d like to say but it probably would not be printed! Damn PPM!

    • Anonymous says:

      Greed and hypocrisy? Greed for who? Read the story and pay close attention to the detail. This deal benefits the Cayman Islands people, not the PPM. A well structured agreement with long term sustainability at the heart. That’s actually what Cayman needs, not short term environmental destruction for another set of condos and a break on their (our) import fees!

  20. Tim says:

    People need to think about the net positive impact this will likely have. I hate that they’re taking coral, but think of all the money that is going to the Environmental Protection Fund. A kilogram of coral is not very much – and so maybe this isn’t the worst thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      ” I hate that they’re taking coral, but think of all the money that is going to the Environmental Protection Fund. ” You can’t make this stuff up.

    • SSM345 says:

      Are you referring to the Environmental Fund that our DOE or Conservation Bodies have no access too that our Govt. pillages when they feel like it? Remind me again how that benefits anything?

    • Tommy Goff says:

      Yes tim tim poor you when will Caymanians ever be given the right and opportunity to protect their own environment???? But I can understand your lifestyle and salary need to be paid first eh. So run along their mi bwoy you will be leader one day eh???

  21. Anonymous says:

    I never had any for Government, but now I’ve lost all respect for DOE as well.

  22. F.A. Cetious says:

    Ooohh. I do hope this product is tested on animals.

  23. anonymous says:

    OK, turtle rides, corals for eye lashes. What clowns run this country and exploit its nature as if it belongs to them? When all bodies of water have been polluted, all marine life destroyed, all minerals are excavated your grand children will realize they can’t eat, drink and breathe money.

    • SSM345 says:

      In other news, they grow this in labs specifically for this purpose (they do the same with black coral for jewelry); its grows faster and you don’t damage the Environment, but of course that goes against anything our Government would do because it doesn’t involve destruction and loss.
      We really need to get rid of these Dinosaurs and replace them with people who live in the 21st century and look for 21st century solutions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ermmm! They originally discovered this stuff in its natural form from researching naturally occurring pharmaceutical products in nature ! Once the natural products are identified it’s relatively straight forward to synthesize a synthetic version! But guess what? The world is moving back to the natural version for a whole host of reasons – not least because nature knows best. It’s another reason why nature is valuable, because we don’t know what remains to be discovered. When we lose a species we potentially lose so much more. It’s not the best way to look at the world, but it is a very good reason to protect biodiversity we have remaining. Use it sustainably and it won’t be a problem – there is enough out there if we don’t take it all.

    • Anonymous says:

      hey – news flash. Look after the marine environment and this coral will keep growing. Your grand kids will keep being able to sell it to the world market as long as its there!

  24. The Sentinel says:

    Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.

  25. Anonymous says:

    wow !

  26. Anonymous says:

    its not april 1 is it ?

  27. Anonymous says:

    I am speechless!

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