Sharks and rays generate millions of dollars for the Cayman economy. That’s part of the reason these cartilaginous sea creatures are protected under the National Conservation Law.
But so far this year, an alarming number of these valuable animals have turned up dead.
Let’s start with $54 million US. That’s what a Department of Environment (DOE) report assigned as the annual value of having sharks on our reefs. Even in US dollars, that figure is no chump change. It’s widely accepted that each stingray at the sandbar is responsible for $500,000 dollars in annual revenue, so it’s no wonder why they are featured alongside the Queen on Cayman’s 50 dollar bill.
According to DOE shark intern Johanna Kohler, 22 sharks and rays have been reported dead to the DOE so far in 20-17.
She even broke down the death toll by species.
4 Caribbean reef sharks
3 Nurse sharks
2 Blacktip sharks
6 Eagle rays
1 Shortfin mako shark
1 Shortnose seven gill shark
1 Whitesaddled catshark.