Shark movies, beach cleanups and fishing clinics are all part of the line-up for this year’s Ocean Conservation Month.
The series of events, which kicks off on Cayman Brac on Monday, March 11, is organized by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and concludes with the annual fundraising cocktail party for the conservation organization at LUCA restaurant on April 5.
One of the key features of Ocean Conservation Month is the “shark talk” series. Every child in the Cayman Islands has been invited to the cinema to watch Mr. Harvey’s latest shark documentaries and take part in a question-and-answer session with marine conservation experts.
There will be sessions at the Aston Rutty Civic Centre on Cayman Brac, as well as at the Camana Bay Cinema in Grand Cayman. One of the featured movies is “Sea of Life,” which charts the experience of two Cayman Islands high school students, Josh Weaver and Cassandra MacDowell, swimming with whale sharks off Isla Mujeres in Mexico.
The month of events also features the public premiere of Mr. Harvey’s newest documentary about Cayman’s Stingray City and the work his foundation does monitoring the health of rays at the tourist attraction.
Louisa Gibson, of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, said the question-and-answer sessions with schoolchildren, which have become a staple of the event series, are usually entertaining.
“The younger ones usually ask what is the biggest shark or the fastest shark or what is a megalodon, but the older ones often have some very interesting, well-informed questions.”
She said sharks were a great hook for getting people interested in talking about the ocean.
“Everybody loves to talk about sharks and the media often put sharks in a negative light. What we want is to get people talking about how interesting and how important sharks are to our oceans,” she said.
The event also features a beach cleanup, starting at SafeHaven on Sunday, March 17, and a fishing clinic focusing on catch-and-release and sustainable fishing practices. A family fun day is planned at Royal Palms on Sunday, March 31, and the event series concludes on April 5 with the fundraising cocktail party at LUCA restaurant.
The theme for the event is “Generations” and Mr. Harvey will partner with his daughter Jessica Harvey, who also works with the foundation, to give a keynote speech on the way the ocean has changed from one generation to the next and their goals for the future.
Mr. Harvey said educating the next generation was the key to reversing the trends that have decimated marine life.
“Conserving marine life is a generational process. We have managed to consume most of our valuable marine assets in just two generations,” he said.
“Through research, education of the next generation about the value of marine resources is mandatory. Our children will then have a head start on conservation and will know right from wrong. They will acknowledge the true consequences of over-exploitation and what is meant by sustainable use of a marine resource.”
For more information or to purchase tickets, email [email protected]