Little Cayman becomes global ‘Hope Spot’

| 08/06/2020 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service
CCMI researchers study coral reefs off Little Cayman

(CNS): Global marine conservation organisation Mission Blue, which campaigns to have critical areas of the world’s oceans recognised and protected, has added the whole of Little Cayman to its list of ecologically critical ‘Hope Spots’. While this does not give the island any additional legal protection over what is already given to it by Cayman Islands laws, it helps shine a spotlight on the importance of its marine conservation.

Mission Blue, which was the subject of an award winning Netflix documentary, is a global coalition of ocean conservation groups and organisations, including large multinational companies and individual scientific teams, led by famous oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle. It aims to raise public awareness about the need to protect marine habitats.

Little Cayman was suggested as a Hope Spot by the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) as part of their World Oceans Day celebrations.

According to Mission Blue, Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean. The designation aims to recognise, empower and support individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean.

A release from CCMI said that Little Cayman is being recognised as a Hope Spot because of the high abundance of threatened and endemic species found there.

The research facility, which is a registered non-profit organisation in the Cayman Islands, noted that one of the last remaining large spawning aggregation sites for the endangered Nassau grouper is located just off the western point of Little Cayman and is protected by the Cayman Islands Government.

“Green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles nest in the hundreds on Little Cayman’s beaches every year, and the coast is abundant with marine life, including seven species of sharks,” the release stated, also noting that the island’s coral reefs are vital to its rich biodiversity.

Conservation legislation of in the Cayman Islands, such as the early adoption of Marine Park Areas, no dive zones and specific species protection policies, has also played a crucial in protecting biodiversity locally, CCMI noted.

Dr Carrie Manfrino, CCMI’s founder and president, said, “Our results indicate that whilst Little Cayman reefs are not immune to the impacts of local and global change, they have remained stable over time and appear to be more resilient than other Caribbean coral reef systems.”

However, Dr Manfrino warned, “The ocean is on fire and reefs are on the brink of extinction, as rising temperatures are killing corals at unprecedented speed. Yet globally, we have shown that we can reduce our impact on our oceans. I believe the time to make a shift change and protect our oceans for the future is now. There is hope.”

CCMI shares the results from their monitoring work with the public via our Healthy Reefs outreach campaigns to improve knowledge and ocean stewardship, which can also be found here.

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I hope that Dart doesn’t destroy it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The CIG needs a Green Party or at least someone who can drive environment legislation through Cabinet. There is no one. Too bad Wayne Panton is no longer around.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The CIG does not give a damn about the environment. Bring back Wayne Panton next year.

  4. Anonymous says:

    In October 2016, the George Town Harbor was named a Mission Blue Hope Spot. Didn’t even register with our Cabinet. In November 2026 the MV Saga crushed the Trinity Caves dive site forever and didn’t even get a fine.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep so true.

      Government must be thinking – hey let us kill all our reefs and commercialize all of our public beaches – that is the smart thing we can do.

      And the sad thing about it is that Government is actually trying to do it!!!

      CNS, can you please give an update on the $2Million Brac Turtle Centre – this should be newsworthy enough to follow up on.

      Pork Barrel Spending

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly George Town Harbour which was declared a Mission Blue Hope Spot didn’t mean anything at all. Those people refused to help with even a letter of support. Probably have a contract of some sort with the cruise lines. So this Declaration is pretty worthless sadly.

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