Editorial for 29 November: Protect Cayman seas for future

Many people reading this editorial have children and

We want what is best for them in the future. That is why
many of us have scraped to get by to provide for them a better education,
ensuring proper placement in Cayman’s future workforce.

So why can’t we also ensure that we leave them a healthy
environment, both on the land and in the sea?

Why can’t we help ensure that our children, grandchildren
and future generations have plenty of places to live off the land and sea as
our forefathers did?

The Department of Environment recently held public
consultations concerning a proposal to increase the size of protected marine
areas. The  consultative period ended on
23 October.

DoE, in our humble opinion, went above and beyond the call
of duty in holding district-wide meetings, setting up shop early in the day and
continuing to answer questions well into the night.

Bottom line – our fish stocks are in danger, as are our
coral reefs.

While fishing is an integral part of our heritage and
culture, the reefs and pristine dive sites are our meal ticket, which brings
countless visitors to our shores; visitors with discretionary income they are
willing to leave behind in our coffers.

As the Cayman Islands Tourism Association said, “Protecting
the environment is not only good for the environment, but very good for all
business and tourism in the Cayman Islands.”

Why are we trying to bite the hand that feeds us?

The DoE isn’t trying to stop fishermen from making a living;
it’s trying to ensure that our future generations have the means to make a
livelihood, be it fishing or operating sea tour businesses. When we first
established our marine parks more than 25 years ago, we were doing it on
information gleaned locally. We now have science and expertise on our side.
If we begin now to protect our natural resources below the ocean we can offer
future generations more fish for divers, snorkellers and fishermen, as well as
better overall health for our reefs.

These measures aren’t for us here and now; they are for the
future of the Cayman Islands.