Mangrove protection official

| 29/04/2020 | 30 Comments
Cayman News Service
Protect Our Future protest to save the mangroves

(CNS): Cayman’s mangroves now have official legal protection, which should, finally, prevent these dwindling yet critically important species from being removed by developers without consequence. On Monday, the National Conservation Council gazetted the adoption of a Species Conservation Plan, which formalises mangrove protection in law and outlines the very strict conditions under which they can be removed.

Conservationists have warned about the dangers of mangrove clearance for years. More recently, there has been an increase in the number of development sites where a significant swathe of mangroves was cleared before planning permission was obtained. This meant that the Department of Environment was not given the opportunity to advise either against any removal or how it should be done to mitigate negative impact, raising concerns for the scientists at the department.

Mangroves provide protection to developments from flooding and coastal erosion and are very difficult to replenish but have, nevertheless, been removed with alarming frequency in recent years. In many cases it appears developers are either unaware or simply do not care about the importance of mangroves or how they would benefit the proposed projects.

Just last month, the Central Planning Authority considered and granted an application for after-the-fact land clearance in Prospect. Several acres of mangroves, which were part of an important drainage system, were removed so a developer could dump soil and store materials to support a nearby condominium development.

The DoE had urged the CPA to take appropriate measures regarding that last bout of mangrove destruction because the DoE conservation officers could not intervene until the mangrove conservation plan had been approved. But the CPA did nothing and gave the developer after-the-fact permission.

But from now on mangroves are formally protected and anyone who removes, kills or damages them commits an offence under section 33 of the National Conservation Law. With no specific penalty in place, the courts have the discretion to fine perpetrators up to half a million dollars or send them to jail for as long as four years, which is the maximum penalty for conservation law infractions.

Meanwhile, a group of young people in the Cayman Islands who campaign for conservation and environmental awareness, are not letting the current lockdown stop their efforts and are using social media to campaign hard for the Caribbean-wide initiative to plant trees, including mangroves.

The students, who have formed the group Protect Our Future, are also pressing for a curb on development in Cayman, which has caused thousands of trees to be removed. “This is especially damaging and dangerous for Cayman because most of the trees destroyed are mangroves,” the POF students said.

“Mangroves sequester four times the amount of carbon than rainforests do and protect our coastlines from severe weather events. By tearing down our mangroves, we are releasing a vast amount of carbon into the environment, once again contributing to climate change. Through leading and promoting the reforestation of our mangroves we will be creating a more sustainable environment for our future,” they added in social media postings this week.

The Species Conservation Plan for Mangroves can be downloaded here


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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (30)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we should keep this lock down going to save the mangrove

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Finally some good news that we can say is in the best interest of all who live in Grand Cayman. Rest assured, we can live much better off with the Mangroves than without them.. Hurricane season is just around the corner. Models already show an above average season. Hope those who so carelessly destroyed the mangroves along the shorelines on their ‘million dollar lots’ know what they are in for if we were to get a direct hit. Remember much?? Of course not, they were probably not in the country at that time.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Protection? Richie Rich come and clear out he mangroves when he want to build his house. Who going to stop him? Planning? Ok then. We all know how that go.

    Cant rain here no longer than one minuted We Have NO More Mangroves!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    A half million dollar fine but you want to offer CI$10,000 per acre for Mangrove swamp miles away from the sea? Don’t think that Granny don’t know shes being told a lie. If its so important for the environment, pay a reasonable amount of money. There is 40 million dollars in the Conservation fund. It’s been seating there for years. Pay!! People will sell at a reasonable rate. Again the Eastern districts suffer. If I owned a piece of swamp on the water I would fence it off and feed the fish and lobsters and sell them to the grocery store. My land? My seafood.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Finally! After the western peninsula has had most of the mangroves destroyed. Just a few months ago, over forty acres of mangrove were flattened, just east of the Island Heritage roundabout.

    Oh well, at least we have the interior forest still.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And yet not a peep from the environmentalists when those mangroves you speak of, were being destroyed. But yet when farmers want to put in a road to farm….EIA this, EIA that!! Wonder what we’re going to do when the food supply gets cut off?!!

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    • Ms Foster says:

      Not fur much longer. When curfew is over, go and look at what remains of the forest and what’s happening around and through it. Then ask yourself, I wonder who owns it? You’d be surprised (or maybe not).

      • Royal says:

        Exactly! Breaks my heart to see how this once wonderful green and blue island, (land and sea) is being destroyed!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can’t eat mangroves.

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  7. Aubrey Stillwell says:

    Great! Now how about protecting the Sister Islands Rock Iguanas before the feral cats eat them all

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  8. Anonymous says:

    It will still continue and they will find a way to fight the fines..The policy of better to do and ask for forgiveness later…ALT and The Planning Board will continue rubber stamping them..nothing to see here..move along..

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  9. Chris Luijten says:

    Fantastic news!!!! Thanks to Cayman News service for covering this important environmental news while at the same time dealing with other issues.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    It is absolutely SICK that such common sense steps have taken this long and this much effort to be put into place. Our government and every prior government should actually be deathly ashamed of themselves; especially considering that Ivan proved the utility of the mangroves. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

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    • Anonymous says:

      4:59 Just to be clear it is the fault of upper government and not the DOE. The DOE have been waiting months for this to be passed but it has been collecting dust on the minster’s desk. I am relived it has finally been put through. Hopefully it will make people think twice before cleaning our beautiful mangrove forests.

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    • Anonymous says:

      True, there’s not much to protect any more as Grand Cayman is already 75% deforested. This should have happened 20+ years ago.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t know where you got your stats but Grand Cayman is only about 25% developed.
        The eastern districts are vastly untouched.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t know where you you get your figures from, do you know much of our land was stripped for mahogany and other lumber for ship building both here and in Jamaica. Most of the trees you see outside of central mangrove and mastic is secondary growth not old growth. Do you also know about phosphate mining here in the basin we now call Windsor Park, there was a small rail road too!

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Better late than never. Cannot understand why it was don’t many years ago though!

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  12. JTB says:

    Excellent news. Better late than never.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Finally!!!

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