GT harbour nominated as world ‘Hope Spot’

| 13/09/2016 | 52 Comments

(CNS): The marine environment in the George Town Harbour, which is currently at risk of being destroyed by the development of cruise berthing facilities in the capital, has been nominated and listed as a world ‘Hope Spot’ by Mission Blue after being vetted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The designation puts the harbour on the global stage and joins just 75 specific spots on the planet that are of such significance that conservationists are calling for their direct protection.

Cayman News Service

The Balboa Shipwreck and reef is located in 10 to 30 feet of water immediately in front of the cruise ship landing and will be completely removed by dredging operations if the cruise berth goes ahead as planned. Many consider the Balboa to be both, the number one and number two of the top ten dive sites in Grand Cayman – night dive is #1, day dive is #2. (Photo by Courtney Platt)

Mission Blue’s goal is to encourage ordinary citizens around the world to elect their own Hope Spots to ignite broad public support for a global network of marine protected areas large enough to protect and restore the ocean’s health. George Town Harbour is on the list of 14 new Hope Spots that were evaluated and accepted this month.

Local environmental activists Save Cayman said the nomination was a victory for thousands of people who are fighting to protect the reef system in the harbour from the cruise project.

“Their voices have not just been heard locally but have now been strongly backed by the international community. We now hope government can see how important our environment is to our people and those who visit our shores,” the activists said.

The members of the local conservation group were not the only ones to nominate the area. Laura Jackson Ebanks also submitted a nomination after hearing her 79-year-old parents’ views on the proposed cruise piers.

“I knew I had to do something, which is why I nominated it as a Hope Spot. They are convinced this will be the destruction of Grand Cayman if it is allowed to proceed,” she said.

As a global movement that is being spread via social media and has the backing of Google, National Geographic and generous sponsors such as Rolex, the nomination has no legal power to protect but it does have influence. It will ensure that if the Cayman Islands Government continues to press ahead with the cruise project, it will be doing so on the world conservation stage.

Dr Sylvia Earle, the founder of Mission Blue, said the nomination programme was to “encourage people to take responsibility and ownership of their environment”.

“The ocean is in trouble, but you can do something about it,” the expert environmentalist said. “We want people to own their ocean and for Hope Spots to become a shared vision.”

The Hope Spots are places deemed critical to the health of the ocean and the scientists explained that while around 12% of the earth’s terrestrial regions are currently under some form of protection, less than 4% of the ocean is protected in any way, leaving it vulnerable to overfishing, pollution and over-exploitation.

Visit the Mission Blue website

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (52)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I hardly see where Ellen Cuylaerts, who was at United Nations headquarters in New York earlier this year to talk about the value of showing the ocean’s beauty through images that make people care, has ANYTHING to do with the tendering of passengers… Maybe some people actually care more for the environment than you think? Or Ms. Jackson-Ebanks… I don’t think she has anything to do with Sunset or the cruise terminal. Somethings are just more important than selling jewelry. Our entire Island’s future is at stake.

  2. SOS says:

    KirkBots and KKK in allout attack mode or a slow day at work

  3. Anonymous says:

    Jeepers people!!!! It’s only a “Hope” spot.
    You people need to get up on the other side of the bed. Or do you come here merely to get your anger out of your system??
    Calm down!

  4. Anonymous says:

    SaveCayman the so called environmentalist group masquerading as SaveMyTenders is back again obstructing important infrastructure to protect there lucrative and precious tender operation which all the cruise lines have clearly confirmed WILL NOT be used for their larger ships because the larger cruise ships will simply NOT call to Cayman if tendering continues and the CBF is not built. As the economic life of the existing smaller ships expires and the ships are scrapped they will not be replaced by more small ships. Cayman will be then out of the cruise business affecting the livelihoods and employment of 3500 Caymanians and an additional 1000 new jobs who will all require social services to survive.

    • Anonymous says:

      if that was the case, would not be easier to allow competition for the tender contract?

      It seems a lot cheaper than building a port and will not destroy the unwater environment the cruiseshippers come here to see.

      and while you are making up figures just say it will employ 30,000 hard working locals for the next 1000 years.

      • Anonymous says:

        Competition can’t get a foot in the door of this monopoly. Even if they could, there wouldn’t be enough passengers to share since the cruise companies will be bringing way less passengers to Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Come on, you know full well there are not 3500 Caymanians employed and there is no such thing as 1000 new jobs hanging on this. Besides, the dock will never be built anyway. Design something useful like some good tender docks.

  5. Red Flag says:

    I have to agree with the folks that know there IS life in the harbor. I dive there fairly frequently (2 or 3 times a week) and find lots of tropical fish on the reefs. There is also some nice patches of Stag Horn coral flourishing on several heads. I thought that was long gone and yet it is growing nicely in the harbor. All the hard corals are there and looking healthy as well. I have just recently run across a nurse shark and a green moray that rivaled the famous Waldo from down by the old Casa Bertmar. There also remains of old anchors from the old sailing ships that used to call in here as well as the Cali and the Balboa. The sponges are surprisingly vibrant, basket, barrel, azure vases, ropes on all the reefs. The photos you may have seen come from around the Balboa wreck and they are good shots, but they do not tell the whole story of what is all down there. The other reefs in the harbour are just as alive and vibrant. Yes, there are lots of patches of sand but that is the nature of the underwater landscape. JUST BECAUSE THERE ARE PLACES WHERE THERE IS SAND AND NOT CORAL DOES NOT JUSTIFY DESTROYING THE CORAL THAT IS THERE. Instead of dredging the harbour for this dock, why don’t the powers that be just install cruise ship moorings and stop all the anchor damage? More than enough tourists can get ashore in the same manner they have always come.

  6. Anonymous says:

    People need to take this with a grain of salt. This group doesn’t go around the world looking for the best places, they rely on write in nominations. No doubt there were petitions from the save cayman (aka save tenders) group just in the same way they pulled all their dive buddies together from outside the country to make it seem like a lot of resistance was on island (great slight of hand by the way).

    This nomination really means very little.

    I wouldn’t be too bothered by it, we need to keep moving and get this dock built.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It got so see through how much the Sunset crew was behind the Save The Tenders operation that they recruited a couple naive young Caymanians to front. Unfortunately these youngsters while thinking they are saving the island are just pushing for tender money

  8. Annie says:

    Who is this group representing, really? I am ish on the dock, it helps us, but it also hurts us. But, I just think this a bit hinkey, and I am not going to blindly jump on their bandwagon. The Harbour is the Harbour, are they going to restrict Tropical and Seaboard? If not, this is politically, or Sunset motivated.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tender boat motivated and ridiculous to recognise a dead and busy harbour in this way. As silly as designating the wooden shack in South Sound as a world heritage site.
      It makes a joke if the whole tree hugger bunch of them.

  9. Harauguer says:

    There have electric ferry boats you know, let’s get those.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Build the dock ASAP or we might be eating rocks soon. Our financial industry is slowing down as a matter of fact the global economy is slowing down, it is only a matter of months before Cuba becomes the next hot spot and then what for Cayman?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep it’s a hope spot alright, as in I Hope the dock gets built.

      • Anonymous says:

        and hope that an expat only tax pays for it, rather than our children and inturn their children

        • Anonymous says:

          Go ahead and impose an expat only tax my friend and see how that helps your children . Much call for rope making these days ? And while we are at it there is a expat tax paying for this and just about every other government project….i say tax , sorry I mean ‘work permit fee’.

          • Anonymous says:

            So you believe Cayman can’t exist without you bunch of parasites? We did much better off before that pesty driftwood started washing up on our shores. This is one CAYMANIAN who would love to hold the door open for all of you.

  11. Anonymous says:

    As others have correctly pointed out, this area was completely wrecked decades ago, mostly by cruise ship anchors, to call this a ‘hope spot’ in environmental terms is like calling the George Town dump a new nature park.

  12. Damien says:

    This is Great news! Opportunity for more visitors to our waters. This shows we are a more environmentally friendly eco system than most places.

  13. Anonymous says:

    After 9 years my family and I get rolled over next year . My two kids were born here and have spent all of their lives here thus far ( minus the odd vacation ) I hope one day to bring them back so they can see the place they were born and raised if only for a few years. My prediction is that there will still be no cruise ship berthing facility and there will still be two groups arguing over for and against.
    It reminds me of the ‘brexit’ vote. I could see good arguments both for and against , but ultimately it seems to become a debate between two groups of people with their own interests at heart. On Saturday I took my kids to the George town library for a story time event ( excellent by the way ) but what struck me again , as it always has , is how ‘ dead ‘ the port area and town is when there are no cruise ships. I really don’t get it. If you go to most places in Europe an area like that would have a nice promenade where people could walk safely , with restaurants and cafes , places for people to meet and mix . We have a million jewelry stores and a couple of T shirt shops.
    Whether you agree with him having so much land or not ,you have to say that camana bay is a well laid out development that is he’s and shoulders in quality above most developments regionally. I cant help but think if the design team behind it could do something similar with the waterfront then everyone would benefit more . Maybe I’m just being naive tho’.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Looking forward to the official government comment from the Tourism Minister, who is no way conflicted when it comes to what happens in the harbor.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Kirk Bots…Kirk Bots….whatcha gonna do…..????

  16. Anonymous says:

    Isnt it ironic that all the effort put forth by the dive hotel manager has brought attention to how much damage divers are actually doing to our reef. I hope this “hope spot” shuts the diving down in this area so they can stop pretending that the “save cayman” group isn’t just “saving the tenders”

  17. Anonymous says:

    I completely agree that there are dozens of better deserving spots in Cayman’s waters than George Town/Hog sty Bay for protection. Not to mention you cant close the only port in Cayman or we all starve. This is just another example of people living thousands of miles away trying to interfere with things they know nothing about. Try so let us take care of our people and jobs on our island and go save the ocean in spot in Cayman that actually need it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your use of the term ocean confirms that you are not from these parts. It may be wrong, but I stopped caring what you thought at that point. For those that have not yet noticed, the Cayman Islands are located in the Caribbean Sea.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Too bad these “environmentalists” who “care so much” all have their jobs and money attire forefront of their agenda. Shame.

    • Anonymous says:

      Believe it or not some people on the planet actually care about the environment. Probably because we only have one planet to live on, unless you can suggest another one to move to once we destroy Earth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh so impressive…know it all…it is usually the really ignorant that think they know it all…how can you prove they have money and jobs at forefront? Shame on you for talking unsubstantiated garbage. There are people in the world that really care about preserving the environment for future generations with not a thought of money. I’m sure you worship Trump too

    • Diogenes says:

      Unlike all those arguing for the piers? I have not seen a single argument for the pier that does not cite jobs as the reason the piers being put in, with damage justified as being an unavoidable consequence.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is because everyone already knows it is for Kirk Freeport PROFIT first and only a few short term jobs second.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Interesting how coral bleaching and overdiving for profits in most of Cayman’s most beautiful diving spots that they pick GT harbour, even though everything is dead and it is just a grey waste land when diving. Seriously not impressed by diving the GT Harbour.

  20. Anonymous says:

    My “hope” for this spot is that people stip getting fooled it thinking save cayman is actually about the environment and fi ally realize it is founded based on greed of the guys running boat shurtles back and from the cruise ships in a monopoly and huge money.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Out of all the more important ocean sites in cayman George town harbor getting this is purely due to pushing from the tender boaters. George town harbor is the most over used, anchor damaged and descimated area in grand cayman. They need to go protect the grouper spawn sites and fish nursery areas. stop wasting your time with a area that is already almost dead.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I hope this means they are going to push to stop divers in gt harbor because they are more danger and damaging than any dredging ever could be.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Another pile of junk being over touted as actually news here again. Interesting how many people still haven’t figured out that the tender owners are still masquerading as green gurus. Tricking so many people into pushing against the good development for our people.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Excellent news! I just hope it works to prevent this ridiculous idea that we need a cruise berth.

  25. Anonymous says:

    All this is is some other raise a flag to say save the anything campaign. Just another smoke an mirrors designation from a non policy making eco green crazy organization.

  26. Cheese Face says:

    “Sponsors such as Rolex” How ironic!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it obvious that these folks are all part of the anti cruise berthing facility ?

    If it was not for that, the GT Harbour would simply be GT Harbour with no mention of the underwater world.

  28. Anonymous says:

    The cruise berthing facility is madness. Too expensive and not something that should be considered. Keep using the tender boats. Keeps Caymanians employed and doesn’t destroy the reefs.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Well deserved. We should be very proud of our unique waterscapes and do all we can to protect them from needless commercial exploitation.

    • These hope spots people have google, national geographic and Rolex in their corner. These “environmentalists” fully knows that the dock is going ahead right where it is now located so I don’t really understand what they can do about. I do not know whether it is the right location or not but these Hope spots but I really do not think that mission has any business in where the dock goes. Some of these people need to mind their own business. There pretty soon won’t be anyplace on the island to fish, and now this crap.

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