Survey finds 50% want bigger marine parks

| 15/10/2012

coral-reef-278x225.jpgCNS): Following responses from almost 1000 people to the Department of the Environment’s consultation survey regarding the future of Marine Parks in Cayman, the proposals for the new designations will be revealed in details by the DoE over the next few weeks. Gina Ebanks- Petrie the DoE director said that over half of those who responded wanted to see extended protection for Cayman’s marine habitat and 90 per cent wanted to see more law enforcement. Only 10% of those who took part said that they did not wish to see any changes. The review of the current marine parks and zones has revealed that the law has helped to protect the country’s fragile marine habitat but it is clear more needs to be done, the director said.

Local experts have said that the coral reefs in Cayman still need more protection as threats intensify. With proposals on how to do that now complete the first meeting will be on 23 October when the DoE will reveal what it hopes will become the new boundaries for no take zones among other changes and gather public opinion on the proposals for further protection for the next 25 years. The proposals are based not just on scientific research but from the information gathered during the public survey period which started a year ago.

The goal, Ebanks- Petrie explained, is to increase the protected areas on the reef eventually from 15% to around 40% changing some replenishment zones to no take and extending across the local reef shelve and down the wall.

“Long-term protection allows the entire range of species and habitats to recover,” she said, adding that it gives critical marine creatures time to grow and mature. “As larger fish produce more eggs, this benefits the ecosystem and fishery. If no-take areas are re-opened, the benefits of improved ecosystem health and a bigger fishery can be quickly lost,” she warned as she invited everyone to come out to look at the future proposals and offer their view.

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“If we want to continue to fish in the future and make money from tourism, we need to make sure we look after what we have,” Ebanks-Petrie added emphasizing that the need to expand the protection.  “Healthy coral reefs and mangroves provide critical coastal protection to our small, low-lying islands and coral reefs are one of the most diverse and fragile ecosystems on earth.”

The parks were created 25 years ago and while they have proved to be successful, they need to be extended and that extension needs public support the DoE boss stated. There are now new threats to consider associated with climate change, such as a warming ocean, increases in sea surface temperature, more storm activity, ocean acidification and sea level rise.

See details of public meeting schedule below

Category: Science and Nature

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    They need to pass the conservation first instead of keep AVOIDING the issue in case the CIG upset some greedy rich deveolper who may be upset if he/she cannot destroy some more of Grand Cayman after buying it underhandly of course!!!!  A tourist in the street commented on how ugly Cayman has got over the years with the deveoplment of huge high rise apts/condo's & beach & mangrove disappearing.  Such a shame.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am all for protecting our marine life and think the parks were a good idea. However there are few places now where the average law abiding caymanian can fish and get conch. We all know there are plenty of poachers who dont let a little thing like a park stop them. What is needed are more DOE enforcement offiers to uphold the laws we have now. And by the way they should have the power to arrest people also. It will do no good to have more parks and no one to patrol them      

  3. Anonymous says:

    I just want people to stop taking sea life from our existing protected areas. I obey the laws and don’t take out of season, and keep it reasonable in season,so why can’t we keep the poachers from killing them all first? Bigger parks just mean, well not much.

  4. peter milburn says:

    For all you nay sayers out there who dont think we need to save our environment.Think again BOBO.Without our natural environment we have nothing to offer our visitors and it will destroy our future generations.We have NO right to deny them the beauty that we enjoy everyday here BUT it comes down to education.Yes educating the idiots who keep spouting about destroy destroy and destroy some more all for the sake of what?Progress?:I dont think so.Think of all the people that will be out of jobs IF we destroy the very thing that keeps many of us working and in fulltime jobs.Sure we need development but I say again sensible sustainable development not the search out and destroy like whats going on in Red Bay as I write this.Too many areas are being wiped out for what?The almighty dollar?Sure that will help the chosen few but what about those of us who are not willing to let all this come about?Our environment and development CAN and MUST go hand in hand as can be seen in many places all around the world where sensible people in charge of govt are seeing that a pristine environment means work and riches for all to benefit from.Enforcement is also the key as we have too many laws on the books that we cannot possibly enforce no matter what way of life we are involved in.Cayman is one of the few places in the world where not enough attention is paid to saving the world around us.It is a crying shame where all we get from our present and past govt members is pure and simple LIP SERVICE.What is with you guys anyway?How much more will the Caymanian people take before they will say enough is enough?I have personally seen some of our work permit holders out along the iron shore or beach areas catching tiny fish to take home to eat.This must be stopped and those people must not be allowed to continue to decimate the small fish population(the lion fish are doing that)so we dont need to make things worse.When I have spoken to some of them they get upset and say that it is ok to take the fish until prosecution is mentioned and then the throw the fish back and take off but they are back again in a day or so.People need to take more pride in their country and step up to the plate and tell these people that it is wrong to come here and not follow the laws of the country that they are allowed to work in.Go to Canada or the USA and try the same thing there and see how fast the park rangers  step in and take everything that you have.We desperately need more enforcement officers to patrol our waters and beaches and to save what little we have left for our next generations after all it is what should be expected of us.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think you folks are right we were told this would help the reefs and the fish,conch,lobster and whelk. Obviously the scientists were wrong we need more protection. We need everyone to stop fishing. If you need fish ,lobster ,conch ,or anything from the sea we should just bring it in from the US. Finally all watercraft should stop going anywhere close to any beach. At least three miles just in case we hit a stingray cleaning itself while jumping in the air. We wouldnt want to do that. In fact ban all boats should be next . What about divers and snorkelers? We should ban all sun tan lotion like they are doing in Mexico.They have discovered wearing lotion is bad for the environment. What about all the swimmers and snorkelers who pee in the sea? That definitelly bad for the coral. Anyway I'm glad we could finally do something for the environment.

  6. Animaliberator says:

    Public consultation can be a very powerful means to get something done or un-done. What I think is equally important is that the DoE having come up with viable plans to be exposed at the meetings, certain criteria are simply not up for discussion. Local experts appear to be determined about  the need for more conservation and I could not agree more. The current deals with the turtle farm, the grouper moratorium, lobster and conch season, mangroves, ghost orchid etc. should make the DoE determined that some things simply must be so whatever that may be to fulfill the need for proper conservation, period. I will change my mind about this to moment traffic laws are up for discussion and interpretation which is exactly my point as it looks like traffic laws are up for grabs simply witnessing what people do in and with their vehicles and get away with it.


    Objections usually come from people who will claim that something should not be done because of heritage, we always did this and that, based on culture of days gone by etc. etc. and as a result will end up with a bunch of disgruntled people. Proper education of course is key to make all people understand why certain things must be done, not maybe. All the must be done items also need proper protection by law and the enforcement of such laws which is still the most lacking part ot the whole set up, most unfortunately so as can be noted from the recent survey.


    I believe the DoE must be given more power to decide what to do to protect our environment as a whole so they can stop hoping for something to happen and rather proceed by simply doing it. As mentioned in the first paragraph, public consultation/opinion can go in both directions but not everyone is an expert on the subject and should primarily be left to the experts at hand who deal with these matters on a daily basis.


    I can only hope these meetings will prove to the general public that the DoE is on the right track and implement the new proposels in to law as I am sure that all will be highly needed without even knowing the details at this time.

  7. bear baiter says:

    Yes, there's no doubt we need far better enforcement of our existing legislation but I would venture to guess that the money needed to provide such will  be spent on far more important matters – such as luxury trips around the world for Masd Mac & JuJu.


    (By the way, where is all that money that's been taken in over the years for the Environmental Protection Fund??)

  8. Anonymous says:

    What we need is a government that will not stall on a proper conservation bill just  because it is in the best interest of the Developers.