CITA calls for stingray laws

| 25/09/2012

stingray-3 (295x300).jpg(CNS): The body which represents members of the  tourism sector has called for changes to the marine conservation law to ensure the protection of stingrays in local waters. Thecall comes in the wake of news that four of the ten stingrays at a local captive dolphin facility had been taken from the population of rays at the Sandbar. The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) said that a recent survey of the declining numbers at Stingray City and the Sandbar is cause for concern and Cayman could lose its biggest national tourism asset if something is not done. Backing the currently shelved National Conservation Law, the association called on government to do something to protect all local fragile species.

“The CITA supports the adoption of the long debated and long awaited National Conservation Law and immediately calls on government to enact legislation to protect southern stingrays,” CITA stated in a release on Tuesday. “Many local indigenous creatures — both land and sea — need protection, and CITA insists that the proper laws must be enacted and enforced to protect the fragile and important life forms that make Cayman their home.”

Focusing on the local population of wild stingrays, CITA noted that the limited protection the rays while swimming in the designated Wildlife Interaction Zones (WIZ) of Stingray City the Sandbar are insufficient as there is no legislation to prevent the removal of stingrays from locations outside the WIZ or other protected areas.

“Over the last three years, watersports operators have seen an alarming reduction in the populations of southern stingrays at both Stingray City and Stingray Sandbar. A recent survey of the stingray population by biologists confirms this observation,” CITA stated, adding that new regulations to the Marine Conservation Law must be added to include southern stingrays as a protected species.

“The Cayman Islands are world famous for many things, and for many visitors, it is the southern stingrays that are one of the most well-known images associated with the Cayman Islands. In fact, because of its success, many competing destinations around the globe have tried to copy Stingray City. CITA’s watersports members feel that if these stingrays are not protected, the Cayman Islands stand to lose its biggest national tourism asset,” the tourism body said as it pointed to the thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses dependent on a healthy population of rays.

CITA estimated that revenues from Stingray City and the Sandbar exceed US$30,000,000 per year, not including revenues generated by other activities by the same visitors.

“Many of the stingrays in the WIZ areas have been 'entertaining' visitors and locals alike for many years and therefore can certainly be considered 'million dollar rays',” the organisation noted about the species, which despite that value remains vulnerable and unprotected by legislation.

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  1. Naya Boy says:

    I support all who say that Doplhin Discovery and the persons who own and run this facility need to be be named and shamed but alas because of who they are and they have money not even this site will do it even though the ownership is no big secret and is publicly known. How can we do something when those person who are responsible to do so are unable or are simply too afraid to act. Its a disgrace and shameful to see how those in power are dancing and tippy toeing around this matter and using the abscence of some law as a reason not to act..  When there are things that can be done such as reporting them to CITIES for their abuse of our Stingrays notifying the Cruise lines about the situation.  Measures outside prosecution are far more affective in remeding this terrible situation. What a bunch of cowards we have incharge. Kudos to CITA for standing UP!

    • Me says:

      Well then, why don't you report them to CITIES ( and the Cruise Lines ( See how far that goes and then explain again how 'measures outside prosecution are far more effective'.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry folks – CITES applies to trade and transport of species between countries, not to activities within a country, so CITES will not be interested in this sorry state of affairs. Maybe you should write to your Minister and ask for appropriate legislation to protect the rays here in Cayman, rather than compaining about authorities not acting just becuase there is no law. Not having a law is really a great reason for authorities not to act – if they act outside of the law they can get sued, just like anyone else.

        • Anonymous says:

          Which is why we cannot do anything to stop the barbaric local trade in turtles, their meat and products.

  2. peter milburn says:

    Guess I could not let this pass without a few comments.How can anyone in their right mind even think about harming or for that matter imprisoning s/rays to make money?.The owners of the facility that now have s/rays in captivity should have their brains examined for doing such a thing.Is this all about greed and the urgency to make more money at the expense of our marine creatures?Of course it is for these same people have oodles of money but the greed is making them blind to the fact that these s/rays are far more important  and valuable to the economy of this country than  the lust for more money.It is for this very reason that we need adequate laws in place to stop this raping of our marine enviroment.Having said all this we know that new laws will never be put in place until these type of people satisfy themselves to the fullest but by that time it will be too late to save what we are now losing on a daily basis.The awards that the premier has just gathered in TCI are a joke as we are knowingly destroying the very thing that has helped us win some of these awards and we should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing this continued destruction to take place.Maybe one day SOON we will have responsible people in our Govt that will take a more balanced approach to what we are suffering through now before its too late.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The stingrays are not protected by law so no charges can be brought against them. blame the law makers we all know where there is a dollar to be made most people will try anything. some are just more brazen

  4. Anonymous says:

    Stingrays will be protected if, and only if, certain rich and well connected persons can make a handsome short term profit; ohterwise they will be extinct in a few years.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Really when you think about it what an incredible level of disrespect toward Stingray City the number one tourist attraction of the Cayman Islands by Dolphin Discovery.

  6. One for all says:

    Now that efforts are being made to "protect" the Stingrays- should we not seek to include the "Caymanian" into this equation as well? 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you CITA!


    Stepping up and showing the type of leadership that we so desperately need in Cayman.


    Looking out for the present and long term wellbeing of our tourism industry, economy and our people.


    Pass the NCL now and also strengthen the Marine Conservations Laws and protected areas!



  8. Anonymous says:

    You would think that CITA and the dept of Tourism would have ensured this happened a long time ago considering the significance of his asset to their industry. As everything else we all wait til something goes orribly wrong before we act!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have never gone to either of these facilities and I never will. They should be fined a million dollars a stingray and made to release them now. Thanks to the media and the visiting vet for letting us know what kind of operation they are.


    • Married to a Caymanian - says:

      I agree.  The Dophin prisons partnered with greedy wealthy locals who should be ashamed of themselves.  

      There is a huge opportunity on their big flat screens while you wait to receive 10 minutes of EDUCATION and these venues are missing the mark.  I would not be so opposed if there was a save-the-ocean message that went along with the experience.  So much could be gained instead of greed. 

      Save the Stingrays and make the Dolphin Parks educational (we know with local political contacts they won't go away).  They are here to stay so it is time to force the owners to get a conscience.

  10. Anonymous says:

    If CITA were serious about this they would have been pushing for NCL ever since it was first proposed.

    In fact some of their members don't want NCL, weren't exactly enthusisistic about the introduction of WIZ and are (as of about two months ago when I was last out there) still blatantly ignoring the interaction rules by lifting rays out of the water at Stingray City to entertain cruise shippers. These are the same people who also effectively killed off the marine safety recommendations contained in the 2006 Safety of Small Commercial Waterborne Vessels report and buried its findings without a trace.

    The harsh reality – having stingrays taken from CITA's pet tourist trap might financially impact some of their more vocal members and that's all they are worried about.

    • Anonymous says:

      I could not have written this better myself.  All this association (CITA) does is jump on bandwagons.  Thank you for the post and telling it like it is.  The orchids need help too, or was that story missed last week?  Or does that not fill up CITA's coffers?  Thank you again for this post.

  11. anonymous says:

    Dolphin Cove has made offer to DoE as per below…







    Dear Gina/John,


    I am sorry to of missed the meeting you recently hosted.


    With all this buzz of sting rays and the population being threatened, I would like to make a suggestion.


    We catch 10 female stingrays from south coast

    time the catch to be after mating season

    ultrasound the rays

    confirm the ray has babies

    have the babies in a special salt water tank

    train the mothers to hand feed and remain in the sand bar region

    raise the babies – 40 in total – to about 12" in diameter

    give the babies training to eat squid and interact with humans in calm fashion

    train the baby rays to stay in the sand bar area

    release all the babies


    if DoE would like to contract Dolphin Cove – we would be happy to oblige.


    I would estimate a cost of about $50,000.

    cost include: labor, pumps, pond linings, boats, etc






    Neil Burrowes


    Cayman Dolphin Cove

    • Anonymous says:


    • anonymous says:

      So for $50k "Dolphin Cove"  would help repopulate the stingrays?


      • anonymous says:

        I think big Mac should chip up the 50k, it would be money well spent.


        Thousands of us boat captains, handlers, bus drivers make our livlyhood from those stingrays.


        We only see around 50 stingrays now and some days we have 20 boats at the sandbar at one time.


        I am in full support of returning the population to around 100 whereit was 4 years ago.



  12. Anonymous says:

    There’s no stingray laws?

    These animals should be protected ASAP

  13. RedFlag says:

    Just shut down these reprehensible dolphin prision camps and no more problems with stingrays being raided from the sound.  They should never have been allowed to see the light of day to begin with.

    • Anonymous says:

      I could not agree MORE.


      DO NOT SUPPORT THEM AND DO NOT VISIT THEM. They are cruel and unhumane to the dolphins, who are kept confined in order to perform day after day for visitors. There is no empthy shown to these poor animals who are tortured in this way for our entertainment.

      I hope they close down very soon.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Who is going to lead the charge against dolphin discovery?
    Fight for the people whose livelihoods has been impeded?

    We need a couragous leader!

    We need to show the richman – money can’t buy you out of everything.

    We need a leader !!!

    The richman has been caught red handed.

    Make him pay – one way or another.

    We need a leader.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I expect this to be a low key issue as it is a Caymanian family involved and not Dart. If it were Dart, Ezzard and Arden would be down there hugging the stingrays and raising hell. Rooster would be crowing day in and day out about Dart ruining the number 1 tourist attraction.

    But don't worry it will remain low key.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dart is Caymanian – irrevocably. 

      • Anonymous says:

        You know what I mean. Do not throw a red herring to confuse the readers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cabinet status grants are revocable in various circumstances – by Cabinet. Please stop spreading the falsehood that they are not.

  16. Anonymous says:

    How about immediate protection for rays in North Sound? They may all be caught before there's a conservation law.

  17. Good to Go says:

    This highlights a gap in the legislation/protection which the dolphin facility clearly exploited. With no protection by way of conservation law and no ability to apply the theft provision in the penal code, technically the facility doesnt appear to have done anyhing illegal, even though what they did is clearly in poor taste.

    The sandbar I grew up visiting was amazing because it was 'natural', not constructed or designed, just a place where people congregated which so happened to attract stingrays that were fed and as a result became friendly and allowed humans close contact. 

    The moment the dollar signs came into the picture, the allure and beauty vanished, in my opinion, and this removal of the stingrays is the not so suprising result.  Nothing in Cayman seems to be of value unless it is monetary value (lovers wall is a prime example).  Why cant we just let some things be?  It is really sad that a business would stoop so low, clearly its not able to sustain with the attractions it already has.  So sad. 

    • NeoSurvivor says:

      I hear you loud and clear;  We laud the dollar more than the natural resources.     The same seems true throughout the three islands.   What we once had and felt pround of has diminished.  


      There was a time when I could go in 30 feet of water and dive up two conch.   Those two conch would feed four people.  I would ALWAYS see at least two stingrays and perhaps an Eagle Ray or two. 


      There was a time when we lived within our resources — that was a generation or two ago.     Now, the dollar trumps everything.  


      We need to protect our natural resources……… if for no other reason than  they are the reason that tourists come here.   We SHOULD protect them because they are the root of our history, however if they can be protected simply because visitors will not come if our flora and fauna are absent, then that is better than letting them be needlessly killed.   

  18. Wakey Wakey says:

    Pssst Min. Scotland – time to wake up and do some work

    • Anonymous says:

      Min. Scotland stop sleeping at the wheel.  Get a driver if you can't handle it.  Don't cause and oil spill.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Sandbar has become an unregulated, dangerous chaos. Far, far too many tourists there at the same time. It's no wonder there are fewer stingrays these days.  The DoE needs to limit the numbers allowed there at any one time

  20. Anonymous says:

    Would seem an obvious and beneficial thing to do for the benefit of these islands, but it seems our glorious ever honerable leaders are too busy travelling and enjoying life high on  the hog and getting everything they can to be bothered much about the islands.

    Nero is fiddling whilst Rome burns.

  21. Anonymous says:

    grow a pair!… you should be calling for the resignation of mark scotland(or the entire udp adminsitration!)