Survey finds 50% want bigger marine parks
CNS): 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.
“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
|Consultation public meeting dates.jpg||259.33 KB|
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