Cayman Islands Marine Parks - DOE and Darwin Initiative Review

In 2011 Cayman marine parks turned 25 years old!

As a result, the Department of Environment is currently carrying out a comprehensive review of the parks to ensure that, 25 years on, they are still optimally configured to protect Cayman’s marine habitats and resources for future generations. Assessments have been undertaken to identify and quantify, where possible, the current level of threat to the marine environment as well as the capacity of our coral reefs and other marine systems to cope with future threats such as climate change and coral bleaching. Funded by the UK Government’s Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, this is a Darwin Initiative project which brings together expertise from here at DOE, Bangor University in the UK and The Nature Conservancy in the USA.

In September 2011 the project team went out to the public to present the scientific findings and hear what people would like to see in an improved marine parks system for the Cayman Islands. We presented the data and discussed options for an enhanced marine park system at 22 different meetings, around all three islands. This included public meetings in each district, discussions with the Ministry and Caucus, members of the opposition, the Marine Conservation Board, the Commissioner’s Office in Cayman Brac, four classes at University College of the Cayman Islands in Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman, the Land and Sea Cooperative, the Angling Club, the Seafarers’ Association, the CITA board, the Ministers’ Association and the Human Right Commission. A public meeting is due to be held in Little Cayman early in the New Year. This presentation has also been videoed and combined with supporting materials in an education pack. Forty-five copies of this pack have been distributed to all government and public schools, other education bodies, the prisons and environmental organizations that provide outreach to the public.

Public input gained during these meetings and ongoing will be logged, combined with our long-term biological data and together with the habitat maps that we have put together over the last few years, we will design various options for improving protection of the marine environment around Cayman. We will map those options and come back out to the public again in April 2012 to seek your input on which you believe to be the best.

The purpose of this Facebook group is to provide an additional forum through which you can learn more about this important review of Cayman marine parks and provide YOUR own feedback about what is important to you and how together we might improve protection of the Cayman Islands marine environment so that in another 25 years, we can still enjoy all that we have enjoyed in the past and what we enjoy today. If you would prefer to provide feedback and comments or ask questions directly, please do not hesitate to contact DOE on DOE@GOV.KY or Tel. 949-8469. We hope you will enjoy contributing to and reading about the project.