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Year in Review 2017: The Environment

The year is coming to a close, and over the next couple weeks, Cayman 27 will be taking a look back at the stories that mattered in 2017.

For three small Caribbean islands with a combined area of 100 square miles, there’s certainly no shortage of news to report in the environmental sphere. Cayman 27 looks back at just a few of the most memorable.

The National Conservation Council put forward Cayman’s first terrestrial protected areas in January, six in Grand Cayman, including Barker’s, and six in Little Cayman.

That same month, Guy Harvey reached the triple digit mark in the 15th year of his twice-yearly stingray sandbar census.

In February, Cayman set an ambitious renewable energy goal of 70% by 2037 as the country’s first National Energy Policy passed unanimously in the LA.

That same month, we brought you the story of a visiting mermecologist that discovered a new species of ant only known to exist in the mangroves of Camana Bay.

Meanwhile, an unemployed young Caymanian presented a novel idea to tackle joblessness, while keeping the environment clean.

“If you look around you will see a bunch of seaweed, a bunch of garbage. Obviously we can’t control that, it floats in every time the bad weather comes in, but we can maintain it by hiring people and having people come daily to clean it up,” said Ian Powery of Botswain’s Bay.

In March, a video of Brac dive instructor Brett Johnson removing a 12-inch knife from a nurse shark’s head went viral.

Also in March, a video of what appeared to be a live iguana dangling from a stick stirred debate on the ethical treatment of the invasive green iguana. The Department of Agriculture confirmed, yes, torturing green iguanas is against the law.

In April, a fisherman discovered the first of several mutilated eagle ray carcasses, triggering outrage against poachers.

At just 18 millimeters, this tiny lionfish was both a cull tournament winner and a new record for the smallest invasive lionfish caught in Cayman.

In July, the war on plastics took centre stage, and Royal Palms was among the first of Cayman’s restaurants to discontinue plastic straws.

That same month, Cayman 27 cameras tagged along with DOE field researchers for a land crab study.

In September, the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme revealed a mystery illness that had killed more than a dozen blues starting in 2015.

Premier Alden McLaughlin fired a shot across the bow of the National Conservation Law in October, calling the landmark legislation his previous administration passed an impediment to business.

“Cabinet has determined that it will appoint a stakeholder committee with a sufficient cross section of representation to review these and any other issues that the committee may come across as a part of the exercise,” he said in his Budget statement.

He said the conservation law review board is scheduled to begin its work next year.

Rare footage of the coral spawn filmed locally by DNS Diving’s Dusty Norman made the cut for the BBC’s renowned Blue Planet nature documentary series in November.

And the DOE said in December that the reddish brown water Cayman 27 chronicled flowing into South Sound from a culvert built years ago shows the importance of environmental assessments.

And just this week, the DOE confirmed that restaurants are people too when it comes to local lobster, and says the limit is three per day.


About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at or send an email to

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