Guy Harvey Magazine

SUM 2013

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 14 of 83

not going to be much left in the next 10 years at the current rate of fsh extraction. from the sandbar found in the pen at Dolphin Discovery Centre in West Bay last Expansion of the park system and better enforcement will continue to conserve July, most people got really angry. The four rays were reluctantly returned to the our best ecological asset. The issues of marine parks, better known worldwide as sandbar. After all, this is our national treasure, an asset that benefts everyone. Marine Life Protection Areas (MLPAs), is as controversial in the Cayman Islands as it Until now, common courtesy and respect alone have kept these creatures in the is in the United States. Recreational fshing versus commercial fshing seems to be wild, but now greed really had taken over. The population was found to be in a never-ending source of angst, not to mention the use (some would say abuse) of decline in the census conducted in January 2012 and in July 2012: in fact, a 40% No Take Zones (NTZs) where all fshing is banned. reduction from 2010 numbers. How many other stingrays were removed from In Cayman, the distinction between commercial and recreational fshing is very fuzzy. There is no doubt that the need for NTZs is a must in our situation, and the sandbar? Several interest groups went to the Ministry of the Environment seeking total new studies will show the importance of SPAG sites not seasonally but all year protection for the stingrays. After 10 months of persistence, the 2007 conservation round. One example in which NTZs make perfect sense is in the protection of the law will be amended to protect all species of rays here in the Cayman Islands. Nassau grouper spawning (SPAG) site in Little Cayman. I accompanied the REEF This lengthy process came to fruition on May 17 when the governor signed the ( and Department of Environment scientists in January 2012 as new protection measures into law. Unfortunately, the proposed legislation to they conducted the annual census of the spawning adults at the only viable SPAG protect Nassau groupers throughout their range during the fve-month spawning site remaining in the entire Caribbean Sea…and a few of our people still want to season still languishes in cyberspace. One of the biggest hurdles we all face is the catch and take this incredible national asset. The Marine Conservation Board took education of lawmakers about the importance of the marine environment to this appropriate action and extended the ban on fshing the SPAG sites for another small island's economy. With none of these elected people qualifed to dive, this eight years in December 2011. The protection of the brood stock, the "investment," remains an uphill battle. As with any protection—here or in the rest of the world— during spawning season is common sense here, as well as in all corners of our it's imperative for grassroots groups to keep the pressure on government so that oceans. Allowing any kind of harvest—be it recreational or commercial—at a our recreational resources will not be depleted by those seeking to make a proft. spawning site is a recipe for disaster and truly killing the golden goose. By the It is our collective responsibility to conserve the marine environment and maintain way, one good practice that seems to have stuck is that few, if any, restaurants on the biodiversity of this planet. Grand Cayman now serve grouper. And then to our beloved stingrays. After the discovery of four tagged stingrays Fish responsibly and dive safely wherever you live, Guy Harvey, PhD

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