Public support needed for mangroves

| 05/07/2018 | 53 Comments
Cayman News Service

Area behind the Ritz-Carlton where mangroves were ripped out to make way for the Dragon Bay development that never happened

(CNS): The Department of Environment is continuing its battle to conserve what is left of the Cayman Islands’ natural resources and is turning its attention to mangroves. Despite the challenges the DoE faces with a minister who openly admitted in Finance Committee this week that he does not profess “to be a conservationist” and has previously signalled his dislike of the National Conservation Law, the department is still trying to do its part, using that legislation while it is still in effect, to protect important habitat. But it needs public support for its efforts to persuade Cabinet to accept a species plan to preserve the mangroves.

Even though mangroves offer protection from storm surge during hurricanes and flooding and their fundamental importance to marine diversity is well documented, Cayman has had a poor track record protecting them. The mangrove buffers in the development plan have often been ignored and the Central Planning Authority has consistently given developers approval to rip out mangroves, even for projects that never materialized.

As a result, researchers at the DoE Terrestrial Unit have proposed that four key species — red, white and black mangroves and buttonwood — form the country’s first terrestrial plant specific species conservation plan that would protect these critical plants no matter where they grow.

The DoE said that mangrove loss has been so extensive over recent decades that it has triggered local red listing. Back in 2008, the Cayman Islands national IUCN Red List status of black mangrove was assessed as ‘endangered’, white mangrove and buttonwood both as ‘vulnerable’, and red mangrove as ‘near-threatened’.

“The Ramsar Convention (1971) has been extended to the Cayman Islands, requiring a commitment to work towards the wise use of our mangrove and other wetlands through national plans, policies and legislation, management actions and public education,” the DoE said.

Ten years after identifying the need to protect mangroves, development has continued unabated, buffer zones have continued to be ignored, and more and more mangroves have been lost. The DoE is currently undergoing a public consultation, which will enable them to purchase significant areas of the central wetlands for land conservation. However, the goal of a species protection plan is to protect the plants across all three islands wherever they are and encourage developers to preserve and incorporate them into landscaping.

At last month’s National Conservation Council meeting, Fred Burton, the head of the Terrestrial Unit, presented the draft species conservation plan and said it would soon go out for public consultation. He stressed the need for people to engage in the process and offer their support to ensure that the plan becomes a reality. Burton said that he was also trying to encourage  the community, especially landscapers and developers, to use them instead of imported plants. 

Burton explained that the plan would offer another layer of protection for mangroves and said that going forward, he was hoping to see real penalties enforced against those who remove mangroves.

See the draft mangrove conservation plan on the DoE website among the NCC meeting agenda documents (scroll down about half way).

For more details email or call  949-8469

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (53)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Still want to know who cut the trees on SMB.

    And how far the government plans to go with Smith Cove “enchanted development”. It is like they got plenty of money they have an itch to spend. And of course, no planning, no environmental assessment, no design, no bids etc.

    Smith Cove must be preserved in its current state. Just keep it clean. It wasn’t saved to be further developed.

    Re-read this and stop those who are so eager to “develop” every of Grand Cayman “Smith Cove fundamental to Cayman”

  2. Anonymous says:

    I like mangrove jam.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The point for 30 plus years is buy it higher then what developers will pay. You can put your money where your mouth is. What this law does is make only one customer (Conservation Council) to dictate price. There is no way you can now sale the property which has been in island people ancestry for 100’s of years. How can acres of valuable land for the suvival of the environment not be as valuable as 7 mile beach? Idiots who don’t own the property in that area forgot when they sold or bought their shares of canal front land forgot it was swampland. Do you want them to pay you what they are offering to pay us? I think not!! So pay a proper amount of money and enjoy your new environmental zone.
    Central Mangrove is 2000 feet to 4 miles away from the sea. Its total nonsense, but buy it at the proper price. I was offered CI$ 15,000 per acre, my family owns 150 acres divided in three. When the road goes through it would easily get 3 times that amount. That was 7 years ago. Pay !!!!!

  4. Yellowman says:

    money ..the God of this Rat island!….so much indifferance…GB help!

  5. Anonymous says:

    The owners of this swamp land (central mangrove) should be asking top dollar for this land,if the central mangrove is so “scientifically” necessary for our survival it is therefore more valuable that seven mile beach.
    There is no power in the national conservation law that allows the council to use the power of government to compulsorily acquire this land so the land owners are entitled to fare compensation and not held to land prices in the surrounding area that is for land not necessary for our survival.
    Therefore the land owners should ask at least $500,000 per acre.

  6. nauticalone says:

    CIG needs to act to make destruction of the mangroves a crime that carries heavy penalties!….otherwise all this talk is just that….talk with no consequence!

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s rich to see so the Styrofoam hypocrites parading their virtue signaling whilst driving their car on 4 rubber tires burning gasoline and stuffing their faces at burger king. Easy to be a finger pointer from the comfort of your plastic keyboards eh?

    • Anonymous says:

      Ummm, those people may be a bit naive, but they are not profiting billions, while the people that produce the styrofoam and tires do. BIG difference. What’s your agenda? Easy living and crap on the planet for your kids ?

  8. Windy says:

    1. Do you like eating fresh locally caught fried fish (aka fish fry) on Sunday?
    2. Do you own or work in a restaurant that serves locally caught seafood?
    3. Are you a fisherman or woman that enjoys fishing recreationally?
    4. Do you own a boat that takes tourist to the sandbar or Coral Gardens every week?
    5. Do you work in the dive industry?
    6. Do you work/own a recruitment firm or is your business serviced by a recruitment firm?
    7. Do you operate a taxi or tour bus?
    8. Do you work or own a shop that sell goods or services to tourists?
    9. Do you enjoy snorkeling or diving in your spare time?
    10. Do you sell liquor or own a liquor store?
    11. Do you run a business that’s invested in a viable future rather than a short term gain?
    12. Do you enjoy going to the beach?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, then mangroves matter. Mangroves are the reason we have fish in the water. Marine life begins in the mangroves. Marine life that support the dive industry, tourism industry and other auxiliary industries like the restaurant and liquor industry etc. Mangroves = marine life. Mangroves = clear water. Mangroves = clear water that make people happy. Mangroves = tourist dollars. Mangroves = a viable financial future. Eliminate mangroves and the natural environment from the economic equation, and Cayman will be an unexceptional rock with a few derleict underground passes. Oh, and without an adequate storm barrier to protect itself during huriicanes.

    I know… all those fancy buildings going up a mile a minute is distracting (and exciting), and it is easy to forget that people chose to spend dollars in this country primarily because of the environment. Go on any ‘move to Cayman’ site and there’s always some long suffering accountant from Birmingham or waitress from Saskatchewan with big dreams of an escape. They always have that longing in their eyes, dreaming of being perched at one of Cayman’s seaside establishments devouring some fresh caught something on their plate. (Most have never experienced that kind of pleasure until they get here, tourist included.) But you’re already here, born on Island or otherwise, and you know that Cayman offers damn good living and that a lot of that has to do with its environment.

    You know what many take for granted is what makes this country shine, particularly when compared to other financial hubs such as Dubai, London and Hong Kong. We’ve got clear blue water and real beaches, and not some man made island from desert sand and actual local fish that doesn’t have to be flown in overnight so a fishmonger can say it’s fresh. You know these gems exist because the environment still has value. But, you also know things on this island are changing and much too rapidly. You know that the natural world, which has given everyone (yes, mostly you developers) so much at no cost, is being dredged up and blasted away. What will be left in the next 10 years? I think you know the answer.

    And don’t pretend not know that what the results will be if we continue to let the government allow those powerful few (you know who they are) to pillage what’s left of the environment. You know what the future will hold for us if those chosen few are allowed to continue dredging mangroves, overfishing (or thwarting plans to extend replenishment zones that would protect Cayman’s fisheries and marine park zones) and blasting beach rock etc. Yes, that’s right, many livelihoods will cease to be. The dream that is Cayman, will slip away forever.

    Every citizen and resident of this country needs to accept responsibly for what’s happening on this Island. It is our responsibility to enforce change. Politicians work for us. They’re our well paid employees. But they will only take take action and create laws that work based on how hot it gets in the proverbial kitchen i.e. the priority of the hour. Politicians have a lot of distractions (and actual responsibilities). So, write them. Take out ads. Protest. Organize sit ins. Be vocal. Hastag mangroves matter or create another. Be unapologetic about protecting your future and what matters. Stop your representatives at the supermarket, church, art openings, the cinema or at the next family barbecue on Sunday. Warn them about where you’ll put your vote come next election if they keep erasing your future. And that includes the plans to blast away the George Town reef. If we do not apply pressure fast, developers and dream killers, who have no vested interest in this country other than their own financial gain, will continue to devastate the environment with zero accountability and leave us with a paved over paradise.

    This is not a DOE fight. It is every citizens responsibly to protect Cayman.

    New towns and canal front ‘Wisteria Lanes’ don’t make Cayman exceptional. In time, they’ll be old and outdated properties and moreover, every bit of square footage can be replaced (and improved) if they were flattened tomorrow. What can’t be replaced is what makes Cayman exceptional. And what makes Cayman exceptional predates the first human every stepping foot on this Island. What makes Cayman exceptional is its environment. Land and shining sea.

    And, there’s enough left of it protect for our future.

    We certainly didn’t need to have those rotting ‘carcasses’ behind the Ritz. The mangroves, that valuable forested ecosystem (NO, NOT SWAMP), could’ve remained until now. A conservation law that had teeth to protect our future could’ve have prevented that.

    For people who think implementing better protection for Cayman’s fisheries and marine park zones will take money from Cayman’s fishermen, watch this:

    For people who believe protecting the environment isn’t a pressing concern, read what Hawaii just did:

    • Anonymous says:

      Fantastic comment. But sadly the days of foreign fake seafood are already here. Go to a certain revamped beach bar at Cayman Kai and order non-local fish in their so called fish and chips for 17+ shameful CI dollars. The reason for this is the lack of sustainable fish stocks locally and the advent of cheap frozen farmed fish from god knows where and under unidentifiable conditions.
      And they are not alone in their greed to make money from tourists who don’t even realise that all of the conch and lobster available on Cayman cannot legally be locally caught due to over fishing and the forced preservation of stocks.
      The only locally caught conch currently available to tourists are either illegally obtained and stored or have been taken by commercial luxury charters who take more than their daily entitlement to feed tourists with glasses of champagne.

      The entire Cayman tourism product is based on the environment and it’s destroying every corner of it through a take and be damned mentality. Go to the Sandbar as I do everyday and watch commercial operators mishandling and removing marine life from its natural environment. Watch how irresponsible operators allow tourists to step off their boats covered in sun screen that has just been applied on arrival instead of on the dock side before departure. Watch the foul slick of chemicals as it floats across our pristine water, and we wonder why the rays are less inclined to cooperate and our reefs are dying. Watch unlicensed and barely seaworthy commercial boats disgorge filthy diesel, oil and foul bilge from clapped out engines into the water amongst their own guests.

      And the list goes on.

      No marine police, no port authority and no doe officers to protect us from this unsustainable abuse of our islands. We must stand up and stop this stupidity before we have nothing left to sell.

      No my friends, it’s already too late and unless this govt start taking the environment seriously, which I do not see any sign of at this time, we are doomed to failure.

    • Anonymous says:

      #1. Yes. Only it is hard to know if micronized plastic was swallowed by local fish.
      #2-11 NO
      #12 . YES
      Agree with everything.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I watched a Discovery Channel show where these guys had found a way to replant mangroves from the air. They would encase the seeds/stems in these packets of clay I think it was and they drop a few hundred packets out of the back of a C-130 a few hundred feet in the air and the packets landed without breaking the seeds/stems. They could blanket a decent sized area with each drop. They should target practice here.

  10. Anonymous says:

    More trees, less assholes!

    • Anonymous says:

      Your vocabulary is small to write a good comment . Trees and assholes don’t go together in anything .

      • Anonymous says:

        I think he got his point across. Now your statement I’m not quite clear on. They seemed to go together in your comment.

    • Anonymous says:

      WRONG – More trees, FEWER assholes!

      • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        Government has a lot of nerve to ask for Public Support. Do they remember when the Ritz Carlton was going up and they hid the mangroves that were torn up with a mountain of marl? Did Government do anything then? I am sure South Sound all the mangroves are being destroyed, Government allowed it…how about Dart’s place, Government allowed that too. So unfortunately I don’t think us the public can do anything anymore about this mess that government allowed to happen!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed. The IRONY, as south sound is ripped apart for the many street walking zombies to have a “boardwalk” then only to still try and walk in the middle of the road.

      Hmph. Help them alright…

  11. Anonymous says:

    yeah yeah…until some politician or lodge man want to build along coastline…????

    • Anonymous says:

      And the guy still walks around like he owns the island thanks to the Bush Doctor!!

      • Anonymous says:

        I still get a chuckle when I think of those two together. Do you remember when Dr. B released some BS statement and it was written using Ryan the Destroyer’s computer? That’s quality funny. And you know what else is funny. That those people are considered successful. You see? I’m chuckling again.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Good luck protecting anything for the next three years! Lets just hope they don’t do too much damage!! AND lets make better choices at the polling station next election!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      People are too scared of not having money to vote for anyone that will stand up to destroyers of the world. That’s why we’re in for the big natural changes soon come.

    • Anonymous says:

      CPA needs to have members that do not make their living off development!!!! Or a least an equal mix.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:47am, not as long as you have a certain quality/type of status voters in BT. Money talks, promises walk.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Question: which is the Blue Economy Ministry in the Cayman Islands Government?

    Put another way, which Minister has responsibility for the Blue Economy?

  14. Anonymous says:

    The further loss of mangroves will lead to further and deeping poverty.

  15. Anonymous says:

    We all know what needs to be done, government knows what needs to be done.. Hell even the realtors know what needs to be done but we all also know that once the land has been sold the buyers don’t want mangroves distracting from their idea of beautiful beach front property and will have it ripped out. We all also know the government is going to do squat to stop it from happening because the allure of the almighty dollar blinds them to what really needs to be done.

    We can lament and pine for things to happen but these are all just wasted words. In the end the government will willing grab the Vaseline, drop their pants and bend over with a smile. SMDH, I have never been to ashamed, discontented and mad at the Cayman Islands Government as I have had this election. I can’t even say it’s a bunch of newbies running the show. These are all seasoned veterans, save a handful and things have gotten worse.

    Don’t these fools realize the mangroves actually benefit us? Benefit the beaches? Benefit the local wildlife? This isn’t some damned weed. CIG, put away the Vaseline, open your eyes and for once in a VERY long time.. DO THE RIGHT THING FOR A CHANGE!! PROTECT THE MANGROVES!!

    • West Bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 7:36am , I agree , but it sounds like this woman I know , that after Hillary lost the election she was so upset that she couldn’t speak and say anything to anyone until 2 day ago , she finally spoke to me .

      • Anonymous says:

        Difference is, I still respect those that are appointed were appointed and I still want to work with the present government despite knowing they only worship money. I just hope they actually do what they were elected to do.. Serve for the betterment of the people.

        • The Investigator says:

          You must be joking, 12:34……….. What has been done “for the betterment of the people”? Name a few things that come to mind. I might also add, it’s a little late for them to “do what they were elected to do”.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What about the appropriation of $10mln from the Environmental Protection Fund, for God-knows-what CIG budget shortfalls?!?

    • West Bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 10:35 pm , speaking of Dart and what made him rich “Styrofoam “, that he would invent something that’s non degradable , that floats , and causes problems to world’s environment , and wouldn’t even give people an incentive to recycle it . And we trust when he says that he loves and cares about the environment . And knowing when he invented Styrofoam that it wasn’t degradable .

      • Anonymous says:

        You sir have hit the nail in the head and until one, ANY ONE, of his supporters (Jackie? Some employee? Anyone?) can explain this huge disconnect I say that history will judge his ilk poorly.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Let dart and Jackie fix them cuz, you know, ‘he does things right’. Oh, and styrofoam.

  18. West Bay Premier says:

    Why don’t the government force the land owner to clean up the area and re-plant the mangroves after they have failed to develop like they have said . There should be fines and conditions attached to any development that requires the mangroves to be removed . Then the government and DoE needs to remember that the mangroves are an important part of the ecosystem of the Islands and they all shouldn’t be removed for development . It looks like the People of the Islands needs to have a serious talk with them politicians about the preservation of the Island for the future .

  19. Anonymous says:

    They need to protect the mangroves on Prospect Point Road now. The plots are up for sale and we all know once building begins the mangroves will be ripped out. Preserve the few remaining along South Sound too. A quick search on CNS could easily show how the public gave plenty of input when they were ripped out, including new mangroves just planted and growing. As usual the input fell on deaf ears.

    • Anonymous says:

      Look at the Planning Dept. website. The minutes for March 2017. There is a development in Red Bay that has almost 25 acres of mangroves right in the coastline (north sound). Read what the DoE states about these mangroves.
      They recognize the importance of these mangroves, but did not put up one objection to the decimation of 14 acres of this area, which is pristine.

      Their comment to the planning application???? Oh, “only clear when ready to build”.

      • Anonymous says:

        I saw that!!! Yes, weird.

      • Anonymous says:

        A.ssholes L.iving T.heir dreams, creating nightmares for the masses. Well done boys, you’ve made yer pappies proud and destroyed you children’s (and my) future.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Haven’t the governments past and present put the cart before the horse? It starts with the Developers and ends with the lunatic Planning department. They only hold down the small fries by not approving plans while the elites are given the big wave to destroy as much and more than they need to. They are allowed to dump boulders onto the shoreline to reclaim land. Stop being so bias and stop watching the $$$$$ bills of the developers.
    How can anyone expect the Minister to put his foot down on the destruction of the
    mangroves, when he is totally lost, when it comes to conservation. Bling Bartemous would be able to see the results of the destruction of the mangroves.
    DoE Terrestrial Unit continue your fight to educate the Minister.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bling Bartemous?

    • West Bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 6:39 pm , I agree with your comment in everything you said . It is hard for some people see differently when their minds are already set . Someone’s like the Premier and Minister only see and thinks that they has to make everything look better and profitable and don’t care about what has to be done in the process to get there .
      So to educate them about anything different , you would have to beat it in their heads .

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