Seas choking on plastic, overfished and acidified

| 08/06/2021 | 28 Comments

(CNS): In his message to mark World Oceans Day on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that many of the benefits oceans provide are being undermined by human activity. “Our seas are choking with plastic waste, which can be found from the remotest atolls to the deepest ocean trenches,” he said. “Overfishing is causing an annual loss of almost $90 billion in net benefits… Carbon emissions are driving ocean warming and acidification, destroying biodiversity and causing sea level rise that threatens heavily inhabited coastlines.” 

As an island nation on the front line of sea level rise, the Cayman Islands is in dire need of policies to protect its vulnerable shoreline and the country is waiting for the PACT Government to deliver on its promise to do just that.

In his address marking the day, Premier Wayne Panton spoke about the cultural significance of the ocean to Cayman. He noted in his address last week to mark World Environment Day that the work “is now urgent, especially in relation to our response to climate change”, and on Tuesday he added that Cayman was already playing a part in protecting its waters with 45.2% of its coastal shelf now in no-take marine parks.

“While this is actually less than 30% of all of our national waters, this level of protection is able to allow more local fishing and other resource uses in the remaining 54.8% of our coastal shelf. There is also much work being done under the surface as well to help fight against Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease,” he said, noting that government cannot do the work alone. “I look forward to each and every one of us doing our part to help protect our precious oceans.”

He added, “World Ocean Day is truly a touching reminder that ‘He hath founded it upon the seas.’ I encourage everyone to take a moment to recognise, and value, the role that the oceans play in our life and livelihoods, and the role that each one of us plays in ensuring this continues into the future.”

A critical change that is required and remains in the hands of government is the continued coastal development, which shows no sign of slowing down. The ongoing planning approvals constantly feature waiving of coastline and high water mark set-backs and other circumvention of planning regulations, as developers seek to build condos and swimming pools as close as possible to the sea and introduce various fake beaches.

All of this exposes the local shorelines to ever greater risk, as sea levels around the world rise. The continued removal of mangroves and other shoreline vegetation is also increasing Cayman’s vulnerability to rising oceans.

See Panton’s World Ocean Day Message in full in the CNS Library.

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Category: Climate Change, Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    DoE haven’t got a snowballs chance in hell of enforcing this expansion of ‘no take’ zones. Hell, they can’t stop their own staff from doing private business on government time, they’ll never get their heads around this. This underfunded, poorly managed and unaccountable department needs shaking up before anything like proper enforcement can take place.
    Perhaps the Premier needs to take a long hard look at his resources before making promises they will not keep on his and Caymans behalf.

  2. Guido Marsupio says:

    If you want to get educated about the horrible things happening to the marine environment toay, watch “Seaspiracy” on Netflix. Spoiler – not a feel good movie. Much more than the waste plastics…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Until governments regular the fishing industry,which is creating the most problems for the oceans and all that live in it, and hold that industry accountable, I do not want to hear about what the little individual is doing to harm it.

    • Anonymous says:

      How about everybody take responsibility.

    • Anonymous says:

      I fish for a living. I’d love for you all to stay away from my money stream.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please note it says governments, not Cayman Government. This is a global problem which means that governments of many of the richer countries must hold that industry accountable because it is a fact that the fishing industry is causing an alarming amount of problems for the World’s Oceans.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’d love you to stop polluting the ocean

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wish CIG would consider making some actual changes like banning single use plastic bags and plastic water bottles. Stores could be encouraged to install water refilling stations instead.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you Anon 9:01 am. Strange that governments aren’t alarmed about one of the worst pollutions of the ocean and killing the fishes and creatures of the seas we have! It’s the pollution of Mr. Dart’s styrofoam drink and food containers! I have wondered why so many governments have taken no action to reduce their use. The only reason I can come up with is that they are being paid to NOT stop the use of them. Will the Cayman Islands continue to look the other way? Are you planning on doing anything about this, CIG?

  5. Anonymous says:

    What is in your soup today?

    It’s raining plastic: microscopic fibers fall from the sky in Rocky …

    Plastic Rain Is the New Acid Rain | WIRED › story › plastic-rain-is-the-new..

    Plastic rain: More than 1,000 tons of microplastic rain onto … › earth › microplastic-rain-western-us

  6. Anonymous says:


    Stop making people and this problem will go away. Micro managing the by product never solves the problem with the cause.

    Our Blue Ball is over loaded

    Get off my space ship!

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop using modern medicine and vaccines and the world will balance itself out naturally- us included.

      Literally the way it’s meant to be!

      Instead you like playing God, prolonging the lives of the weak and killing babies in the womb in the name of the greater good. Ye lovers of life and receivers of abortions!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Would be good if all supermarkets would stop using takeaway containers. No reason why every person could bring their own container. Good opportunity for branding.

  8. The Wonderer says:

    How many years ago did we start worrying about plastics in the ocean? And who was one of the worlds largest makers of plastic trash now in the ocean? That’s right…. our savior Mr. Dart! He keeps the world supplied with his styrofoam products. And who uses them? Why, nearly everyone! I don’t know how rich Mr. Dart is…….. He probably makes over a million dollars a day. I wonder why our leaders in government allow Mr. Dart’s plastic to be used in the Cayman Islands…?…?…? Quite a few governments stopped the use of styrofoam and other plastics years ago! I wonder how much it costs to buy politicians? I wonder what our new leaders will do about the pollution of the seas……?
    Yes,……………….. I wonder.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Truly genuine statements by our Premier, I believe, but it’s a global problem. It’s impossible for us to make a significant impact on flotsam and jetsam, which are the primary sources of plastic wastes in the oceans, but we each can do our part when enjoying boating, beach picnics, etc. Otherwise, our generous volunteers will hopefully continue cleaning the beaches – a big thank you!

    However, hopefully there’s always a benefit to reminding the local populace to be sensitive to and conscious of ocean pollution, the messages will hit home with some….

  10. Anonymous says:

    When is Cayman going to take control over its 200 mile exclusive economic zone?

    • Anonymous says:

      9/6 @ 11:46am – Cayman’s “200 mile EEZ”. Really? It includes western Jamaica? Wonder what sovereign nation Jamaica will say about that?

      I think you need to wake up now!

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