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.