Captured stingrays reveal need for protective law

| 20/09/2012

stingray-3 (295x300).jpg(CNS): Following the discovery by a local vet that one of the captive dolphin facilities on Grand Cayman had taken Stingrays that had been tagged from the Sandbar in the North Sound, the Department of Environment has called for specific legislation to protect these marine creatures. The DoE discovered during an investigation that four of the ten stingrays held captive at Dolphin Discovery in West Bay could have beentaken from the wildlife interactive zone, as reported on Cayman27 this week.  Although the owners of the facility have agreed to return the tagged rays, the DoE director has called for legislation to help her department address the problem of people taking rays from the sea.

Gina Ebanks-Petrie said that amending the marine conservation law or passing the national conservation law and adding the stingrays as a protected species would prevent people from taking these marine creatures, which should not be in captivity, from anywhere in Cayman waters.

The only protection the iconic creatures have in Cayman is in the wildlife interaction zone at the Sandbar and Stingray city. She said it was not possible to prove that the four tagged rays were taken from the protected zone because the rays move freely in and out of the area. As a result, the dolphin catchers could have taken the rays from elsewhere. However, because of the tags, she said, they were clearly stingrays that populated the well-known natural tourist attraction.

Finding the rays at Dolphin Discovery further highlights the lack of real protection Cayman has for many of the unique creatures that call the islands home.

See Cayman 27 report here.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If your looking to catch sharks you could use Stingrays, but most people use couch gut, counger eels (snapper don't pass that up), sprats and squid, oh if you can turn over one grape leaf still and catch a solder crab but they are far and few used to catch mostly squabs and prup prups, which from what I understand my be banned from catching too, this is a bunch of BS swapping bait, that park set out to catch them, also from what I understand if more research is done, or stingrays are been exported to other parts of the world to setup fake stingray cities there too.

    I say just go and take the damn things out and put them back in the sea and make the flipping owners take us to court over it see who will win, we need to have a protest in front of their gate and tar and feather them and run thier asses out of this country, shame, shame, shame on them.


  2. Tribble says:

    These dolphin places are a disgrace to Cayman.  When the rest of Caribbean is closing down these centres of abuse, Cayman opens them up because Cayman politicians will always prefer a quick buck for friends to doing the right thing.  How's that Conservation Law working out for you?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm completely appalled and incredibly disappointed that the owners would dare to remove these animals from their home solely to make a profit. Stingray City and the Sand Bar are very dear to me. Gems of our country. How dare they. Illegal or not I would never remove a stingray especially considering not only the recent report on the depleting number of stingrays, but also because it provides bread and butter for some of my fellow country men. Good on the DOE for tracking the animals. Now let's change the law and protect them. Shame shame shame. My perception of the family that owns DD has changed and unfortunately not for the better.

    Here's some advice from a corporate social responsibility and public image perspective: Return ALL the stingrays to the wild and issue a public apology. ASAP.

    • animal lover says:

      who is the family that owns of Dolphin Discovery?


      lets put a face to this atrocity…



  4. BornCaymanian says:

    Any Locals and Tourist visiting these Islands….DO NOT GO TO Dolphin Discovery!!!  They are brutal to Animals, especially our precious STINGRAYS!!!!  BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT!

  5. Anonymous says:

    How about this scenario.  Mr Fisherman, you bring me ten live stingrays  and I will give you a supply of bait for your fishing.  I think that might be more like it.

    • Anonymous says:

      They're all tame ones from Stingray City because they were easy to catch. Talk about shooting fish in a barrel. XXXXX

  6. Anonymous says:

    I will be sure to tell any guests I meet to avoid Dolphin Discovery, who is with me?

    • Anonymous says:

      I tell all my guests to avoid any Dolphin prison.  If they insist on doing so, they are on there own.  I will not even facilitator their transportation.  But then they know this before they visit.  I also suggest they watch "The Cove" before making a decision to do so.

      • Alan Nivia says:

        I always make it clear to visitors staying at my house that if they want to go these dolphin concentration camps then they can always find a hotel for the rest of their stay.  I

  7. Anonymous says:

    Only 4 to be released, all 10 should be released. If you want evidence that they come from either the stingray city or sandbar, it’s really easyif they are use to humans and freely allow us to ahndle them, then guess what these are tame stingrays, if they are scared of humans, then maybe not.

    You have to also release that there is a big market for tame stingrays around the world, don’t be shocked if an number of our rays have bee smuggled to other islands for a fee.

    • Anonymous says:

      How does that work  can you trade 20 tame stingrays for one captive Dolphin?

  8. west bay peeps says:

    now we know why there are so few sting rays at the sand bar… these yahoos are catching and killing them from poor animal management.


    this is one of the downsides to "fronting" companies to 3rd world people.


    the rays are a precious natural resource that has helped support thousands of caymanians for 30 years!!!


    and we sit idly by and watch the big money man, buy his way thru his problems.


    Carnival guests come and leave our beautiful island thinking that they went to the real "sting

    ray city"…. what a tragedy !!!

    • Stiffed-Necked Fool says:

      Not a thing going come out of this, and its just because of those who are behind Dolphin Discovery and their connections to the UDP. It continues in Cayman and will continue as we just ley them do as they want, but see if that was we do that and dog eat we supper. The rich get richer – and more free to do as they please and meanwhile we suffer!

    • Anonymous says:
      • animal lover says:

        Who are the caymanian owners?

        What companies do they own?

        I would like to boycott all their businesses and strongly encourage all animal lovers to do the same.

        Maybe someone can start a "i hate Dolphin Discovery" Face Book site?





        • Anonymous says:

          The owners of dolphin discovery are the owners of the reef, divers supply, office supply, and sports supply.
          I used to volunteer at dolphin discovery and the stingrays are blind due to being in a small pool and they also cut off their stingers. At least the stingrays where that where there a few years ago.

          • Anonymous says:

            The stingrays are blind due the added chlorine during the summer months.


            The DoE have been made aware of this, but if the director crosses the big man she will lose your job.


            Yes I said chlorine.


            Blindness is good compared to death – chlorine in moderate amounts kill stingrays.


            Is there a lawyer who will pro bono a lawsuit on behalf of all the people who earn a living from sting ray city? Sue on the basis of personal injury to Caymanian boat captains and bus drivers and sue on basis of cruelty to animals.


            We will make you a National Hero…







      • Anonymuse says:

        Under. What. Law?

        Or did you miss that subtle aspect of the article?

    • anonymous says:

      All Caymanian boat captains and bus drivers have just taken blow to the livelyhood.


      Being the largest contirbutor to the UDP sure has its benifits.


      How many votes will this cause the UDP?


  9. Anonymous says:

    They promised to reduce the amount of poop discharged by 50% going forward. Do they believe adding stingray poop is going to help in any way?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Greed is a terrible thing.  I find it hard to believe that local fishermen caught 10 wild stingrays in the North Sound to use for bait and then managed to keep them alive and take them all the way around to Dolphin Discovery where they were "rescued" by Dolphin Discovery and traded for bait????  XXXX

    • disgraced islander says:

      give us the name of the fisherman – bloody liars!!!



  11. Jacky Boatside from Oldbush says:

    Rorschach one may be 2 even 3, but 10 stingrays Comme on now even you don't believe that BS that sounds like a well planned operation by a fisherman alright in the employ of somebody the bait story now that is one a dem Fishy story for Rundown at the Harquail. What is clear though DOE needs to vigorously investigate this matter.

    • Anonymous says:

      DoE has already investigated this matter. With no law there is little more they can do except bring this information to the notice of the public and ask that the rays be put back. Write to your MLA and ask for the new conservation law if you have a problem with what is going on.

  12. SKEPTICAL says:

    Just don’t go to, or recommend Dolphin Discovery.

  13. Rorschach says:

    This is another case of getting half the story..these stingrays were caught by LOCAL fishermen and were going to be used for BAIT..the people at the dolphin place traded them for bait that they use for the dolphins in order for them not to be KILLED..if you want to raise hell about someone, raise hell about your fishermen who think that anything that swims is fair game..

    • Expat Businessman says:

      Fisherman are catching stingrays for bait???? Amazing!

      Just catch and kill everything because the tourists just love seeing sand.

      Locals – please call, email, protest your government to protect the natural environment that brings so much business to the islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fishermen have been pulling in stingrays and cutting them up as bait for years, why expect them to change the habit of a lifetime now without introducing either a big stick or a carrot to encourage them?  

        • Anonymous says:
      • Anonymous says:

        I am not sure the Minister responsible for the environmental Law understands his own short comings.  So, what are we buzzing and bitching about.?

    • Anonymous says:

      That still does not explain why they did not release them inot the wild where they belong.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thats a good one. So let me see if a understand this. The people at the Dolphin place were asked to keep them alive until the local fishermen were ready to kill them or what 

    • Anonymous says:

      Your portion seems a little less than half the story as well. Don't you find it a bit incredulous that the "people" at the dolphin place would come across a dozen stingrays just before they were about to be killed? For someone whose previous contributions have been a mixture of common sense and wit, you now give the appearance of a spin doctor.


      From a personal point of view, I can see this as an opportunity to make some money in stingray recycling. Do you have a phone number for anyone at the dolphin place that I can call to trade the stingrays that I am going to catch this weekend?

      • Rorschach says:

        Alright, I can see I have raisd some ire with my previous post, so let me go a little deeper.  My sources tell me that these stingrays have been at the dolphin attraction for some time.  Now, I am not giving the dolphin place a pass, because they were apparently keeping them in a tank and charging tourists to see them in a sort of "captive" stingray city type of environment, however, these stingrays weren't all caught at once.  These fishermen who initially brought the first ones to the dolphin place apparently were going to butcher them for bait and the dolphin place decided to trade them the stingrays for bait..after that, it was just a matter of, whenver more bait was needed, they just went out and caught anothre stingray and played the same old, trade for bait game..the point I am making is, in my opinion that BOTH parties are in thewrong here…the fishermen for exploiting a local resource because they are too cheap to buy ballyhoo and squid and the dolphin place for not bringing this to the attention of the DOE and returning them to their natural habitats…and if don't think that everything I have said is true…stay tuned..the Truth will come out…

        • Anonymous says:

          The problem of catching stingray to use for bait but then trading them for squid is that the fishermen must have had squid to catch the stingrays to begin with.


          Rather than continuing to support the spin doctoring coming from the dolphin prison, you should just apologise for your contribution. Anyone with half a brain knows exactly how this all unfolded. Apologies are becoming quite common, and even politicians (outside of Cayman) are doing it these days.

          • Rorschach says:

            Apologise??  For what?? Speaking the truth…  IF you were to read the Compass article today, you will see that everything I said YESTERDAY, is being reported TODAY… I stand by the statments I made yesterday in regards to this matter.  No spin doctoring. 

            • Anonymous says:

              Having false information posted in more than one location is precisely the definition of spin doctoring!


              Here's a quote from Guy Harvey in the Compass article:


              Marine conservationist Guy Harvey, who invited a team of scientists to carry out health checks and a census of the stingrays at the Sandbar earlier this year, explained that in the past local fishermen had used rays as bait, but anyone doing so today “would be called crazy as everyone knows how valuable each ray is to the country’s economy”.

              “This is why I have a tough time believing that fishermen willingly trade stingrays for bait with Dolphin Discovery personnel, knowing what damage they are doing to the economy,” Mr. Harvey said.


              And anothr from Tim Austin:


              “The DOE is disappointed to learn that Dolphin Discovery has decided to keep wild stingrays in captivity; given the national importance of the Stingray City/Sandbar attractions, this would seem irresponsible. The DOE is aware of a recent increase in incidences of fishing injuries to rays at the Sandbar and whether this is related to Dolphin Discovery’s effort to secure rays for its facility is unknown, but there seems to be a strong coincidence,” Mr. Austin said. 

              “We are also aware that some fishermen believe there is a ‘bounty’ on stingrays and that this may have resulted in a targeted effort to catch them, which could have disastrous consequences for the local ray population,” he added.


              This is pretty much in line with what everyone has been saying here. Perhaps you are a little too deep into the forest to see the trees.

              • Rorschach says:

                Right..let me say first and foremost, I am NOT in ANY way affiliated with ANY dolphin program.  If you go back and read my posts with a bit of a more keener eye, then you may see that I criticized the dolphin place as much as I did the fishermen..this is all for naught, as all I was trying to do was point out that there was more here than was being reported by CNS in the first place..not that I think CNS had any reason to hide anything, I just wanted to share that there were more parties involved in this issue than just the dolphin place.

                • Anonymous says:

                  When you find yourself in a hole the best thing to do is stop digging.

            • Anonymous says:

              Yes, funny that. You wouldn't happen to be connected with Discovery, would you? The Compass is merely reporting what was said by Dolphin Discovery.   

    • disgraced islander says:

      how dumb do you think us caymanians are?


      • Rorschach says:

        Do you REALLY want an answer to that??

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, please. Let's get all the anti-Caymanian sentiment out in the open.

          • Rorschach says:

            No anti Caymaninan sentiment at all…all one has to do is read some of the ridiculous stories on this website about politicians, damage to the environment because of lack of protecting legislation, secret deals, laws being ignored and crimes that are being swept under the carpet and listen to Rooster and Talk Today and you will have all the evidence you need…

            • Anonymous says:

              of… what? Come on, get it off your chest. No one will know who Roschach is.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, it does not help the cause if you cannot use capital letters or use phrases like "us caymanians are".

    • SSM345 says:

      What bait? I have never used stingray before in the 30yrs I have fished in Cayman.

      Secondly, where were the people fishing that the dolphin discovery people found them with the rays, off of dolphin discovery or out at the sandbar on a Sunday?

      Thirdly, there were 10 rays, so if the first one was caught by a fisherman and traded, are you telling me they then traded for a further 9 rays thereafter? Why didnt they report that a fisherman was pawinng of singrays? Did it not click in their heads that perhaps these fully grown rays are actually from the sandbar / stingray city population?

      And lastly, have you ever caught a fully grown stingray before or at least hooked one? They  win the battle 99% of the time.

    • Anonymous9 says:

      Sorry, I'm with Rorschach on this one. It's unfortunate but sounds plausible

    • SSM345 says:

      Liar, liar, pants on fire!!!!

  14. Big Shots says:

    Discovery Cayman needs to explain their actions no just hand them back and walk away from this That clearly is not right Cayman. DOE needs to set and example that this type of behaviour is not acceptable i our waters. Our shall the law favor the well to do in these islands i know which one i will be betting on ehh? AAAAH boy only in Cayman.


    CNS: Because the NCL has not been passed, no laws were broken. Therefore, there are no legal grounds to punish Dolphin Discovery or stop anyone else doing this. You need to talk to your MLA(s) if you don't think this is right, since they are the ones who make the laws, not the DoE.

    • Anonymous says:

      Prisons love inmates.  They were just expanding for Dolphins to Rays.

    • Kaptain Kayman says:

      Punish the poaching facility by boycotting it.  Do not go there to see the captive dolphin perform circus tricks and and post signs around the island to the effect, just like the anti-Bodden Town Dump or the anti-Sound Sound Canals activists have done

      How long until they have a Blue Iguana exhibit from dragons saved from "run ins" with cars?

      • Anonymous says:

        Never been to one and never will.

        Some how it would remind me of a trip to Dachau

  15. insane says:

    My opinion is: What's #1 attraction in Cayman? Stingray City Sandbar right????? So why in the hell the stingrays are not protected????

    It was needed something like this to happen to waken up people!!!!

  16. insane says:

    That's why Dolphin Cove is the best dolphin park in Cayman by far. They hire Caymanians and they offer a free trip to stingray (the real stingray city) not stingrays in a tank!

    • Anonymous says:

      No such thing as a best dolphin park!

    • LMAO says:

      The best dolphin park in Cayman, or anywhere for that matter is the sea.  Leave them in their natural environment where they belong.

  17. Anonymous says:

    These Dolphin theme parks pretend to care about ocean wildlife and use the guise of furthering science as an excuse for keeping the dolphins captive. 

    How can an organization that cares about science intentionally pervert a scientific study on one of Caymans most important natural resources.  Removing these stingrays from the wild for a period of time compromises the tagging study and its ultimate conclusions.

    The owners argue that because taking the rays wasnt illegal they did nothing wrong.  Surely these 'nature lovers' should hold themselves to a higher standard than just trying to operate within the law. 

  18. Knot S Smart says:

    Whoever thought of such a naughty idea?

    Were they thinking 'we will take the wildlife from the north sound and get the tourists to pay to see it'?

    Oh Dear! Now I guess I will have to give up my plans to make white paint from marl and water…

  19. Anonymous says:


  20. Anonymous says:

    I would like to see this facility heavily fined.

  21. Truth Hurts says:

    Lets do these beautiful animals a favour and DO NOT support the capture and exibition of them in concrete prisons. Their claims to be beneficial to the environment and the animals they keep confined are simply bogus. This is not good business for Cayman.