DoE app to help with research and enforcement

| 07/11/2016 | 7 Comments

(CNS) The Department of Environment has launched a new ‘app’ that combines information from its marine enforcement officers with that from the public. SIREN Cayman enables both the public and officials to input information relating to sightings of important species and to report what may be infractions of the conservation law. The smart phone application was unveiled by DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie at the opening of the 69th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries conference, held Monday at the Westin Hotel.

Ebanks-Petrie told the international audience of marine scientists and those working in the regional fisheries sector that the app was designed to help with the thorny problem of enforcement.

Although the DoE has nine officers working across all three islands enforcing the marine protections as well as the rest of the national conservation law covering terrestrial species, they will soon be policing the planned enhancement of the marine parks. This will see the area of the reef shelf already protected around Cayman increased from 14% to 40%, putting additional pressure on local officers.

The DoE director said that enforcement was not just a concern in her department but one raised consistently by the public during the consultation period regarding the enhancement plans.

The app, which was created with the help of researchers from Bangor University, will allow the public to help the DoE target its resources more effectively and also collect important research data from people who are interested in and observant when it comes to the local environment. Reports from the public will be combined with the information that comes in from the enforcement officers and other important data held by the DoE, such as who has licences to do what, such as using fish pots and turtling.

Ebanks-Petrie said the app would be a great help to the efficiency of the enforcement officers but it would also see the public much more engaged in marine and terrestrial protection.

There is, however, still no news from Cabinet about when the marine enhancements recommended by the DoE after extensive consultation will come into effect.

Environment Minister Wayne Panton gave a short address at the opening of the conference, which is being held in the Cayman Islands for the very first time in the association’s long history. He spoke about the planned enhancement but gave no details on when he expects his colleagues to give their stamp of approval to the much needed enhanced protections, which he supports

While Cayman has been at the forefront of marine conservation in the Caribbean region over the years, Panton told the conference audience that the increased threats that are now impacting marine resources present significant challenges. He spoke about the protection in Cayman waters now under the  National Conservation Law, such as those for all sharks and rays as well as the Nassau Grouper, ahead of the key note address by Brice Semmens about the largest remaining aggregate spawning ground in the region off the coast of Little Cayman.

SIREN Cayman is free and can be download from your smart phone application store.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Seafood guide not scrolling on iOS

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh dear, oh dear. Such a good idea and so poorly implemented – I was disappointed within seconds of installing on my iPhone. Map crashes on iOS (iPhone 6S+) and seafood guide is not scrollable.

      Form design is painfully bad which makes it so hard to use. Can’t see this working at all as it is.

      To the DOE – please reach out to your local supporters who can help you put together what you need – you have passed the test of making the correct decision to do it but let yourself down with a very amateurish implementation.


      • Anonymous says:

        That’s a bit harsh. It can be updated to work the bugs out. Great job DoE.

        Now, if only there was a social media app to report photos of crimes in progress to RCIPS…

        • Anonymous says:

          Idiot, this failed app was rolled out a couple of years ago and DOE staff were given tablets to utilise across the island. Ask a DOE Officer if he is able to pick up your ‘concerns’ or if there is anybody monitoring the data coming in or distributed to DOE staff. I did, and the answer is no to all.
          This is an easy con to play when no one understands how these things work. Would be better to spend the money on more officers and work smarter than resort to failed gimmicks.

  2. Sharkey says:

    Mr. Panton , Ms. Ebanks -Petrie . It makes absolutely no sense to make Laws , if those Laws are not going to be Enforced , and violations punished to the extent of the Law.

    How do we expect 9 Marine Law Enforcement Officers to patrol and protect the 3 Islands Marine environment.

    I hope that the two of you who are the Leaders of the Islands Environment soon see the importance of the marine environment play in the Cayman Islands Tourism , and remember that if we have no Environment we would have no Tourism, and everyone else should understand that too .

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