World Oceans Day on 8th June is a chance to highlight the important ecosystems that rely on the delicate balance of our oceans.
In the Caribbean, where the sea is considered a key resource for both the locals and the holidaymakers who travel there, the Cayman Islands is making inroads to protect the archipelago for generations to come. The local government, members of the tourism industry and island residents have come together to implement sustainability measures across the waters of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
Saving the Seas
The Cayman Islands is world-famous for its incredible, crystal clear waters and fascinating marine life, and there are a variety of measures and organisations dedicated to protecting them. Marine Parks have been established in Grand Cayman to enhance the protection of coral reefs, allowing rehabilitation of supporting ecosystems, and increased resilience to climate change. In addition, a National Tourism Plan focused on economic, sociocultural and environmentally sustainable pillars was put in place to protect the Cayman Islands’ environment and celebrate the cultural heritage, while ensuring a vibrant tourism economy that protects the people of these idyllic and unique islands.
The National Conservation Law passed in 2013, allows the Cayman Islands to protect and conserve endangered, threatened, and endemic plants, wildlife and their habitats. Island visitors keen to learn more can stop by the Little Cayman Research Centre in Bloody Bay Marine Park, which belongs to the Central Caribbean Marine Institute dedicated to preserving vibrant oceans and healthy reefs. The Little Cayman Booby Pond and Rookery is also a dedicated Ramsar site, as it is home to approximately 7,000 red-footed booby birds; this accounts for at least 30% of the Caribbean’s total population of these beautiful birds and their distinctive red feet.
The Cayman Islands is often called the ‘Culinary Capital of the Caribbean’ thanks to the region’s high-quality local produce, with fresh fish and seafood playing an important part in the archipelago’s gastronomic offering.
To maintain a balanced marine life, in 2005 the sustainable seafood education programme Cayman Sea Sense was introduced ‘to help restaurants and their customers make informed and environmentally positive seafood choices’. Another important element of preservation efforts is the control of the lionfish population, a non-native species of predator that threatens Caribbean reefs and local small fish. As part of the control measures, the Cayman United Lionfish League (CULL) organises a quarterly lionfish culling, resulting in many restaurants across the islands offering fresh lionfish on their menus in a variety of tasty dishes, ranging from fried lionfish to raw lionfish tacos.
Located south of Miami and a short hop from Cuba, the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands is a premium holiday destination where laidback discovery awaits. Ideal for adventurous travellers, nature lovers, diving aficionados and those looking to relax and unwind on world-class beaches, there’s as much thrill as there is chill. Friendly and hassle-free with no all-inclusive, the trio of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac islands provide the perfect off-the-beaten-path experience. Often voted the best diving and best culinary destination in the Caribbean, and with incredible wildlife and mouthwatering cuisine to boot, 2023 has seen British Airways welcome a fifth weekly direct flight from London Heathrow.
To discover more about the Cayman Islands, visit: www.visitcaymanislands.com