Crown asked to look at fishing licence charge

Chief Magistrate asks if it discriminates

The case of four people accused of
fishing without a licence has prompted a request for a review by the Crown of
the charges against them under the Marine Conservation Law.

The four–Stephen Andrew Copeland,
55; Andrea Morgan, 30; Doreen Smith, 49; and Robert Simpson, 40 — have been
told to return to Summary Court on 7 September so that the Crown can review the
charges against them.

They are charged with taking marine
life without a licence and having in their possession fish less than eight
inches in length taken from Cayman waters. The alleged offences occurred on 10

Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale
called for a copy of the Marine Conservation Law, under which the four were
charged. After reading the section on “licence to fish”, which was added to the
law in 2007, she asked Crown Counsel Kenneth Ferguson to take her concern back
to the Legal Department. She said she had no settled view on the matter.

Her concern was whether a law that
is applicable to one section of the population is discriminatory and in
potential breach of Cayman’s new Constitution, which came into effect last year
and includes a Bill of Rights that will come into effect in 2012.

In general, the law requires
non-Caymanians fishing from shore to have a licence. Interestingly, the
magistrate noted, sport fishing from a boat does not require a licence.
(Catch-and-release fishing does not require a licence, either.)

She wondered whether the law
concerning the size of fish was not sufficient to protect marine species from

Mr. Ferguson indicated he would
follow up on the magistrate’s request. No further details of the charges were
related in court.

The section under which the
defendants were charged says: Whoever resides in the Islands and who does not
possess Caymanian status or who has a permit to work in the Islands and who,
while he is on shore or while he is in any part of Cayman waters in which he
can stand (with or without assistance), takes or attempts to take by any means
any marine life, is guilty of an offence unless licensed by the Marine
Conservation Board.

The licence fee set out in the law
is $400 annually or $150 monthly.


  1. Culture as we claim it to be is an ever evolving thing and can never truly be defined because the minute we choose to decide something is part of a culture, something new comes along to add or change it.

    Throughout the world the main driving forces of a nations "culture" are its poor. From a countries traditional foods, to clothing, accents, and housing. The true differences in each come from the less fortunate in a society who through necessity and creativity use what is available to create something new and different.

    On the contrast, if you look at the Rich and affluent in almost any society in the world you see few differences in the way they dress (Business Suites and European designer clothes) drive, (European Luxury Cars) speak (English being the language of international dialogue) and live (Large houses away from the urban city centers where they do business).

    This comparison between the rich and the poor cultures of the world can be directly seen in the way Cayman culture has evolved. As the economic wealth has increased many things that formed part of the Caymanian identity that were necessary maybe 40 years ago no longer seem relevant to allot of the current generation as they seem outdated and not necessary with the new modern conveniences luxuries and ideas that many of us have gained.

    As the people of the Cayman Islands change so does the culture, and this is a fact that we must embrace without forgetting traditional means and ways.

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