National Conservation Council chair Christine Rose-Smyth told Cayman 27 she’s eager to work with new environment minister Dwayne Seymour to enhance Cayman’s marine parks.
The council approved the proposal almost a year and a half ago, but it has since stalled out.
In February 2016, after years of public consultation, the National Conservation Council approved an enhanced marine parks plan that would designate 40% of Cayman’s coastal waters as “no take” zones.
Now, council chair Christine Rose-Smyth is saying it’s time to get the ball rolling again.
“The protected area for the enhanced marine parks has been sidelined for the last year and a half now. We would like to see movement on that, so we will be talking to the ministry in respect to marine parks,” she said.
Ms. Rose-Smyth said plenty ‘give and take’ went into crafting the enhanced marine parks plan, which includes expanding fishing areas in the Barker’s area, and allowing for sprat fishing in traditional areas.
“I do strongly believe that the proposal for the marine parks is as is as good as we can possibly make it, and to continue to kick that particular can down the road is going to make the result, and outcome of the purpose of those parts much harder to actually attain,” said Ms. Rose-Smyth.
She said if enhancements aren’t adopted, Cayman will eventually have to consider more drastic measures to protect economically important species.
“In the future we are going to be having to look at more, what people are going to consider as more draconian methods of trying to protect those species of fish,” said Ms. Rose-Smyth.
She told Cayman 27 it’s shortsighted to allow what she calls a limited opposition to prevent these protections from taking effect.
In contrast, Ms. Rose-Smyth said terrestrial protected areas are making smooth progress.