Marine parks input needed now

| 01/12/2015 | 27 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands coral reef, courtesy DoE

(CNS): As experts at the Department of Environment move towards the much-needed enhancement of the country’s marine parks, officials are making a final call for submissions from the public as the consultation period ends Friday. The DoE said many people have spoken to them at the district meetings. but they want to make sure that everyone who has an opinion gets to have their say.

“We want to ensure that everyone understands that even if they do not have a direct relationship with the health of our marine environment, say through fishing or diving, that marine parks provide them with many indirect benefits, including economically and socially,” said DoE Senior Research Officer John Bothwell.

He urged schools and colleges, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, Chamber of Commerce, sports and outdoor users groups, those interested in sustainable development, climate change adaptation and all concerned citizens to examine the proposals, which are available on the DoE website.

Marine Parks Review

The marine parks were first introduced in Cayman in the 1980s and have slowed down the decline of reefs and the quality of the marine environment in Cayman compared to other places in the region. But while they have served the country well, the protections need to be enhanced as pressures and threats increase. From coral bleaching and climate change to significant over-development along the Cayman Islands coastline, the marine habitat is fighting for its life and needs more help.

All written submissions will be included in the review of the proposed enhancements which will be undertaken by the National Conservation Council. The Council’s role in the process is to evaluate the proposal taking into account the extensive scientific research available and public input particularly that received in writing in order to advise the Cabinet which makes the final decision on designation of protected areas.

People are being urged to write to the Council, completing this fundamental statement: “Sustainable management and use of Cayman’s marine resources are important to me because …”

Comments should be received by 4 December 2015 and can be sent via email to: or delivered by hand or mail:

Department of Environment, 580 North Sound Road, P.O. Box 10202, KY1-1002, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

As well as viewing the proposal and maps on the website the public can request a copy via email from Hard copies of the proposals are also available for inspection at the DoE office, all district libraries and the Little Cayman District Office.

The DoE said they can still make presentations at meetings for groups to discuss the proposals, and anyone interested can contact them or can send the team questions regarding the proposals.

Tags: , ,

Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (27)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    One of the NCC board members has lobster motels set up and pipes in Maine parks. If they can do it untouched why would marine parks stop any but the most honest people.

    • Anonymous says:

      These (pipes) are in the East too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Doh! The pipes are there to encourage habitat and for research, surely you’re not that dumb?
      If you believe this NCC member is deliberately setting up obvious ‘motels’ for the purpose of illegal capture, then please forward pictures and hard evidence of illegality. Until then keep your stupid comments and allegations to yourself.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Today lobster season opened. How many stops or checks were made to ensure the hundreds of lobsters caught were within limits or size regulations? My guess is none. That is because DOE is all talk and not walk. They do not need more marine parks. They need to regulate the ones they already have!

  3. Anonymous says:

    With the damage diving causes they should stop diving all together if you want to follow DOE only wishes.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that the DOE never mentions anything about the serious negative impact that SCUBA DIVING have on our marine environment when their own studies have confirmed this. Our marine parks should be NO SCUBA ZONES.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dude, those are in the proposal. But if you want more, write it in. There’s enough links in the article.

    • Anonymous says:

      No dive companies, staff, or customers take wildlife on scuba gear. Such a wild speculation is absolutely contradictory to the ethos of the entire diving community and teachings. If there are idiots taking wildlife on scuba, they should be caught and put in jail, but I’d be very skeptical that they exist.

      • SSM345 says:

        Clearly you have never heard of a lion fish, which are taken on scuba equipment every single day from our waters and it’s actually encouraged by the DOE, they have massive culling events all the time, nearly every month.

        • Anonymous says:

          Lion fish are an invasive species and are not protected – quite the opposite. I’ve been a resident diver for over 20 years and have never seen anyone take a conch or lobster from a dive area. What dive companies are doing this? Be specific.

        • PT says:

          Ssm345: recipient of my nomination for dumbest cns comment of 2015. Factually correct but entirely off topic.

          Google ‘nitpicking’. The definition perfectly defines your comment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Perhaps not on your watch, but believe me, they do, and those that do often knowingly exceed the max allowed by law.

      • Anonymous says:

        They might not “take” sealife from the water but they sure are causing the coral to disappear faster. I’ve been to other islands where there is much less diving and the coral is way more vibrant.

      • Anonymous says:

        1:59, I think that you are dead wrong. I have personally seen lobster poaching by employed divers in a known dive site on island with my own eyes a few years ago and reported it! One thing is the company /companies- the other is some of the staff that work for those companies. Some of them are the biggest poachers and they do it because no one is there checking on them. The sad thing is that. It is these acts that ruins it for the honest law abiding citizens and thus causing stiffer regulations to be put in place. It is quite clear that DOE can’t manage the park systems properly so what would be their next step? Obviously to either beef up the parks to the point where it wouldn’t even make sense to fish or to eventually stop shore fishing all together. Which would be less work for them. The truth is that the officers can’t be everywhere for everything at the same time however they don’t have to look too far to catch the guilty. It is sometimes staring them in the face.

        • Expat says:

          I will second that. I have frequently witnessed this from Frank Sound to the East End, and have frequently complained about it – only to be completely ignored.

        • Expat says:

          I have witnessed this too and it is not just lobster its conch too. I would be so bold as to suggest that certain DOE officers are aware of this and turn a blind eye. It always seems to me that they would rather pick on the local boys who pick up one or two more conch than they should than go after the real culprits on the dive boats who are pulling them in by the dozens.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is all meaningless without at least doubling or tripling the number of enforcement officers. Also, why have the DOE decided to make nearly the entire South Sound area a marine park but have left the whole stretch from Spots to Frank Sound completely unprotected?? This doesn’t seem very fair to me… Is there some political influence behind this?

    Also, The current DOE officers might be more effective if they get out of their vehicles while on patrol. Just this weekend gone, I saw one of their finest pull right up to the waters edge in his highly marked DOE truck. I mean if I was out there poaching I would have seen him from a mile away and gotten rid of any evidence long before they could catch me. These guys should try parking on the road leaving their cars out of sight to the would be poachers, but I guess that might mean breaking a sweat!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Its a pity these consultations cannot be put online so people can complete and submit questions electronically.

    • Anonymous says:

      All you have to do is email in your opinion. How much more ‘submit electronically’ do you want?

    • Anonymous says:

      Read the article please.

      • Anonymous says:

        I did, but I guess the concept of canvassing focused opinion through online consultations like most do in this day escapes you. Set questions and the opportunity to comment achieves consistent and credible results that can be acted upon swiftly.

        Leaving people to just write openly doesn’t necessarily help. It is open to (mis)interpretation, words can be misleading, have double-meanings, and are often misunderstood. I dread to think of how long it takes people to go through these emails and correspondence manually when relatively cheap technology can efficiently process a focused online campaign at the press of a button, in minutes, and without risk of human error.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hey, I know, lets do a poll on the Port and lets see how fast the ‘this poll is broken’ brigade (either side) come out to point out you’re wrong.

          Also, DoE (since we’re talking about them) put out the results of a scientific survey a couple of months ago (the one about eating turtle) and the majority of posts here were ‘well their survey is wrong because I disagree with the results’.

          So, no, a survey is no more productive of ‘credible results’ (much less can be acted upon swiftly) than is a poll. And going through emails isn’t any slower than reading all of the comments attached (as you suggest they should be) to a poll. Its even worse when the comments link back to the person’s vote but you have aggregate vote counts on one hand and a list of comments on the other hand that you then have to manually sort through to make sense of. (If you’re using Survey Monkey for example.)

          Yup, I do ‘surveys’ among my club regularly; no there’s no one right way to do them, it all depends on what kind of questions you are asking.

  7. The Gay says:

    A friendly reminder that eating shellfish is a one way ticket to eternal damnation should help kick off the conservation efforts.

You can comment anonymously. See CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Please support independent journalism in the Cayman Islands