Cayman to host regional marine conference

| 18/08/2016 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service

The Balboa Shipwreck and reef in the George Town Harbour (Photo by Courtney Platt)

(CNS): As the country waits on the government to approve the expansion and enhancement of marine parks around Cayman to protect reef fish in particular, the Department of Environment has announced that it will be hosting the annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) Conference on 7-11 November. Officials said that more than 80 countries will be sending delegates to discuss and exchange information on the use and management of marine resources in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

“The conference is GCFI’s key event, and the attendees are a diverse mix from the scientific, academic, governmental and commercial sectors,” said DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie. “The technical presentations and workshops that will be presented will allow them to explore current resource management issues in depth, and in the process there will be many opportunities for dialogue among groups that usually are isolated from each other.”

Subjects such as governance, livelihoods and organisations; reefs and associated ecosystems fisheries; habitats, climate change and coastal management; essential fish habitats; and aquaculture will be on the agenda.

As well as gathering together people dealing with the same challenges across the region, the conference will provide an opportunity to promote the destination, and also demonstrate both Cayman’s success with conservation efforts and evidence that even more needs to be done.

DoE Research Officer Bradley Johnson said that he and his DoE colleagues are excited to be hosting the prestigious event.

“This is a huge deal for us and for Cayman,” he said. “It’s fantastic for our islands in terms of promoting and informing our environmental positions, but it’s also great for us economically.”

Based on attendance for previous conferences, the week is expected to bring 250 to 300 visitors to Cayman. And on Wednesday afternoon, 9 November, international delegates will have a chance to get to know the islands better.

“Every year, the conference sets aside Wednesday afternoon as the day for attendees to explore the host country,” Johnson said. “This gives our business community the opportunity to showcase all the best of Cayman’s cultural heritage – which of course includes our beautiful environment.”

The conference is scheduled for 7-11 November at The Westin, Grand Cayman

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (7)

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  1. Captain Obvious says:

    Apparently, the DoE made their 2nd bust of the year…

    I would congratulate them but this is simply a drop in the ocean (excuse the pun). In the grand scheme of things 2 busts is nothing when you see the level of poaching that goes on in Cayman. I wonder if DoE have ever heard of instagram or facebook, because people blatantly poach all the time and share evidence of their catches with the world. In the past I’ve reported examples to DoE but nothing happens. Why can’t people bragging about poaching on social media be used as evidence?

  2. Louise says:

    Let’s host a Marine Conference whilst ignoring legislation proposals to enhance the protection of our marine environment. “Do as I say, not as I don’t”…

  3. Captain Obvious says:

    Great you’ve expanded the marine parks, but who is going to protect them? When will DoE employ more enforcement officers? Why are they wasting money on hosting events and not spending it on enforcement where it is desperately needed? Surely bigger parks mean more officers are needed to patrol them?

    Pull your heads out and get this sorted DoE or the expanded marine parks will be completely meaningless!

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. Expanding the marine parks without enforcing them will only penalise those of us who play by the rules. The existing parks are sufficient in my opinion: they just need to be properly monitored and enforced. We’ve apparently got millions of dollars sitting in an environmental fund – use it to pay for more marine officers and whatever equipment they need to do their jobs properly.

      • Anonymous says:

        Even with the existing parks we are not at a sustainable level. Our reefs and the fish populations are continuing to decline. Our ONLY hope is expanded marine parks so that nature has an opportunity to repair and replenish itself!

        • Anonymous says:

          How can you know that? The existing parks are not properly enforced…

          • Anonymous says:

            We know that because we are currently only protecting a small proportion of our reef and shallow seas.

            Many others have done a lot of research around the world and determined that there needs to be around 50% of our productive reef and shallow seas protected so that fish and other marine life populations can be rebuilt and sustain neighbouring unprotected areas.

            If we don’t have enough protected areas even if you are successful in protecting them completely, it will not be sustainable.

            Therefore we need to improve enforcement for sure but we need to expand the protected areas as well or it wont make much difference to the end result.

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