Monday, May 8, 2017

Cayman’s first protected areas approved by Conservation Council

Cayman Compass
May 4, 2017

Plans to turn part of the Barkers peninsula into a national park, protected from development, have taken a step closer after the approval of 11 pieces of land on Grand Cayman and Little Cayman as the islands’ first protected areas.

The National Conservation Council agreed Wednesday to formally recommend that Cabinet designate the chosen areas, including the publicly owned parts of Barkers, to be protected under the National Conservation Law. The recommendations follow three months of public consultation, which indicated overwhelming approval for the plans.

After the vote, Wednesday, Council Chair Christine Rose-Smyth said, “This is a historic step forward in our mission of putting the National Conservation Law into place.”
The prospect of a genuine National Park on the Barkers peninsula has been discussed for decades but never legally enacted, in part because government does not own all of the land.

The council now plans to negotiate with Dart Real Estate, the major private land owner in the peninsula, over broader plans to create a park, combining low impact leisure use with its conservation goals. Read the whole story here.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Branson in Little Cayman to see groupers

Cayman Reporter
March 17, 2017

Sir Richard Branson was in Little Cayman and witnessed a massive spawning aggregation of Nassau groupers and was impressed.
Branson made the dive off the coast of Little Cayman with Dr. Guy Harvey, the Cayman Islands Department of Environment and Reef Environmental Education Foundation to help spread the word about protecting this critically endangered iconic fish.
Each year after the February full moon, thousands of Nassau groupers gather off the west end of Little Cayman to spawn. This concentration of fish in one area makes them an easy target for fishermen and consequently, populations of Nassau grouper have become overfished and devastated throughout the Caribbean.
REEF and the DoE have worked for 15 years to monitor and protect this species and aggregation site. Because of the ongoing research programme, education, and implemented legislation including a five-month closed season and catch limits, scientists consider there is a positive trend in the recovery of the species.
Branson, who described the experience in a blog, visited Little Cayman to see if the scientific work and conservation effort could be exported to other islands.
Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

DoE app to help with research and enforcement

Cayman News Service
November 7, 2016

The Department of Environment has launched a new ‘app’ that combines information from its marine enforcement officers with that from the public. SIREN Cayman enables both the public and officials to input information relating to sightings of important species and to report what may be infractions of the conservation law. The smart phone application was unveiled by DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie at the opening of the 69th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries conference, held Monday at the Westin Hotel.

SIREN Cayman is free and can be downloaded from your smart phone application store.

Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Agreement Reached on SMB Coral Damage Incident

Cayman Reporter
November 1, 2016

The Cayman Islands Government; and TDE Maritime, the owner of the M/Y Tatoosh, have reached an agreement in relation to coral that was damaged in Cayman Islands waters – specifically, the Seven Mile Beach Park – between 12-14 January this year.

No admissions of fault were made, neither was there any disclosure on costs associated with restoration of the coral or associated fees for damages to the marine park.

“Losing any of our coral affects not only the stability of our environment, but also our economy”, said the Minister of Environment, Wayne Panton. “The agreement with TDE Maritime therefore reflects a value commensurate with the loss of our public resource and facilitates a permanent mooring solution in Seven Mile Beach Park, “he said.

The agreement was made without admissions from either party regarding the January incident. Speaking for TDE Maritime, Mr Paul G Allen noted, “We are committed to environmental stewardship, with a proven history of working to improve ocean health through research, innovation and policy change. Our experience around the world in ocean conservation has proven that real change requires dedicated, long-term investment to have a meaningful effect”, he said.  Mr Allen further stated, “We share the Cayman Islands Government’s goal of responsible management of the natural environment; and this agreement will help preserve the reefs and ecosystem for future generations”. Minister Panton said the agreement settles the matter between the parties. “Our goal was to work with TDE Maritime in order to reach the best agreement for Cayman; and we achieved this goal because of our shared commitment to the environment,” he said.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cabinet approves business case on dump

Cayman News
October 12, 2016

(CNS): The outline business case setting out proposals for how government should move from dumping all of its garbage into a landfill to an integrated waste-management system has been approved by Cabinet, paving the way for the request for the procurement process to begin. Premier Alden McLaughlin, who has responsibility for the dump (a.k.a. Mount Trashmore), said government had approved the purchase of around 12 acres of land in the area by the dump for what will be much more processing of garbage in future instead of just dumping.
During a media ‘tour’ of the entire facility Tuesday, McLaughlin also revealed just how far government has come in getting to grips with what had been a mounting, unsustainable, combustible and poorly managed mix of rubbish heaps at the George Town landfill.
The premier admitted that it had taken time to find a sustainable solution to the whole garbage system, such as reducing the amount of solid waste Cayman produces, reusing, recycling and burning the garbage to make energy. He said government had to shape the right policy first and then find a way to implement it.
Read the full article here

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Smith’s Cove Stays

Cayman 27
October 7, 2016

Smith Bacadere returns to the people.

Less than 24 hours after announcing talks were underway to buy over the prized land at the centre of public petition, Premier Hon Alden McLaughlin says Government and developers Bronte have reached a deal in principle for the purchase.

Mr McLaughlin told Cayman 27 hammering out the deal was not something achieved overnight since Government was on the heels of Bronte before the three storey, 24 unit condo complex became public.

He told the LA on Friday (7 October) a price is still being ironed out, but Government agreed to meet the purchase cost, stamp duty and associated costs incurred by Bronte.

However he said it’s about getting the land in the hands of the people of Cayman as soon as possible.

“We have already got a draft of the contract available for us for consideration and I am hopeful within a week or two we will actually complete the purchase,” Mr McLaughlin said.

The purchase will be paid out of the $60 million Environment Protection Fund and the land will be listed on the National Trust’s heritage registry and preserved as a public space.

Premier McLaughlin said he’s confident all MLAs will support the motion to withdraw from the fund.