Future marine parks unveiled
(CNS): Proposals for the way Cayman could protect its precious and precarious marine resources for the next twenty-five years have been unveiled by the Department of Environment. The proposed marine parks are based on the recent survey conducted by the department, local research gathered over the last 25 years since the original parks were established and the growing body of international work on marine conservation. With far greater pressures today on the reefs then there were back in the 1980s, DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said it was essential that Cayman extended the protected areas to try and protect its delicate marine habitat for the future.
At present only 15% of the reef area is properly protected as ‘no take’ zones but the DoE hopes to expand that with its new plans to more than 30% ‘no take’. By retaining the boundaries of most of the existing parks and zones, the director said the department is advising government to ban all types of fishing for everyone in these areas with some limit specifically designated line fishing areas.
With so much information to take in with the revised plans, the DoE has scheduled a series of comprehensive public meetings and presentations that start on Tuesday and run until 6 November in the districts, with a permanent display in the DoE’s library at the offices on North Sound Road.
Preparing for some objections, since the new boundaries would further restrict fishing and diving and impact everyone living here, Ebanks-Petrie said she hoped people would not see the new proposals as taking something away but protecting the resources so there was still something to keep in the future.
“While it may be one way to look at it, we don’t see the new proposals as taking something away but as the only way to keep the environment so that there will be fish in the future,” the director said.
Pointing to the extensive research that now shows that protected areas have a positive impact on fish stocks even outside the restricted zones, she said that if the areas that are designated as reserves are better and more stringently protected there will be more fish to catch in the areas that are not in the new parks.
She noted that, with the introduction of ‘no-take’ across the zones, enforcement would not be any more challenging for the DoE, despite having a greater area to protect and preserve, because there would be no dispute as to the type of fishing someone was doing or who was fishing for what since the areas would be completely restricted from any kind of fishing.
Ebanks-Petrie pointed to the rise in ocean temperatures and sea levels, ocean acidification and coral bleaching, all direct results of climate change that we in Cayman can do little to control. What can be done locally, however, is to limit what we take from the oceans around the three islands and maintain, and even improve, the quality of the local reefs.
As a result of Cayman taking what was at the time the controversial step of protecting some of its marine environment and limiting fishing, it is considered a “beacon of hope” in terms of regional reef cover. Despite having seen the reef cover decline from some 80% to around 15% because of climate change since the 1970s, Cayman’s cover is far better than almost anywhere in the region because of the albeit limited protection it has had. “The marine parks have worked, but now with the increasing pressures we need more protection,” Ebanks-Petrie added.
Hoping that people will come and see the history, the justification for change and offer their support for the plans, the director said that, in the end, she can only recommend changes to the marine conservation law but the amendment to the law itself would be down to government and public support.
She pointed out that the new proposals were not just “made-up” by the DoE for the sake of it but were well researched and well-founded proposals that would protect the islands’ critically important reefs for the next 25 years so that in 2037 there would still be fish in the local oceans and reefs for the next generation to protect.
Public support for the new proposals and the future success is very important and the director said the DoE has planned a detailed schedule to show the people the reasoning behind the proposals.
The first public presentation opens at George Town library at 11am and everyone is free to come along and look at the proposals which will be presented in a poster display and discuss them with DoE staff throughout the day. Then at 7pm there will be a full presentation and explanation about the new marine parks where people will be free to comment and make suggestions about them.
See public meeting schedule below.
|Marine Parks Public Consultation Invitation.jpg||274.66 KB|
- Condo for rent
- George Town Landfill to close early
- Grand Court Juror Report Date Changed
- Government Schools Begin Registration
- Church Street Closed to All Vehicular Traffic
- On Sales : Samsung Galaxy SIV / Apple iPhone 5 64GB
- Sales On: Apple iPhone 5 32GB, Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III / Galaxy S4 Buy 2 get 1 free
- Affordable South Side Home for Sale
- house for rent
- car for sale
The comments posted do not necessarily reflect the views of CNS or any individual staff member. All comments are posted subject to approval by CNS. Read more
- A rat backed into a corner
19 min 44 sec ago
- Voted for
35 min 9 sec ago
- It wasn me
It could never
35 min 32 sec ago
- Using a government credit
40 min 30 sec ago
- I thought 11:30 was macs
1 hour 5 min ago
- This is the kind of leader
1 hour 8 min ago
- How could Mac post at 11:30
1 hour 14 min ago
- Dear Caymanian voter,
1 hour 17 min ago
- If the PNA was doing their
1 hour 23 min ago
- My deepest condolences go out
1 hour 29 min ago