The Cayman Islands Tourism Association recently announced that it supports the expansion of its Marine Parks as outlined by the Department of Environment.
According to the official statement, the Cayman Islands' reefs and fish stocks are threatened today as never before and protecting only conch, lobster and grouper are no longer enough. The importance of reef fish, stingrays, sharks, transient mammals, pelagics and coral reef health has been lacking under the current Marine Parks regulations and without new measures we will inevitably follow the same fate that Jamaica and Haiti now face, beyond the point of no return.
"A healthy environment and coral reef systems are Cayman's biggest asset and why hundreds of thousands of tourists, residents and businesses live in or visit our islands each year," according to the statement. "Protecting the environment is not only good for the environment, but very good for all business and tourism in the Cayman Islands."
Minor adjustments and further consultation need to happen, according to the CITA, and the most important thing is that the Marine Parks do not stay the same as that would in fact be a step backwards.
According to the official statement, "The concept that the Marine Parks is 'taking away' is incorrect; the Marine Parks are giving back and the expansions proposed will do just that - give back more healthy reefs, more fishing stock and more opportunities to make a livelihood from the seas."