The Department and Ministry of Environment has clarified rules governing fishing from shore in Cayman after large swathes of coastline were newly designated as no-take marine zones last month.
The DoE issued a statement Wednesday evening saying it had become aware of enquiries by members of the public concerning whether the recent rule changes outlawed fishing from the shore anywhere in the Cayman Islands.
Environment Minister Dwayne Seymour said in the statement that shore fishing is still allowed at several areas across the Cayman Islands.
“The enhanced Marine Parks regulations recently approved by the Cabinet includes, among other areas, designated line fishing zones. There are also many areas of coastline around all three Cayman Islands that do not fall within the Marine Parks system. They are ‘open zones’ where fishing is allowed,” he said.
In these open zones, an 8-inch size limit for fish still applies, as well as other general species protections such as limits on conch and lobster catches. In addition, it is illegal to kill sharks or rays in these areas.
The Department of Environment also confirmed that the recently updated regulations allow fishing in more than half of the Cayman Islands’ near-shore waters – from the shore to 150 feet deep.
In the statement, the DoE said some line fishing zones within the enhanced marine parks system have been combined with ‘no-diving’ overlay zones, in a bid to preserve fishing access in those areas “while balancing user demands on the limited and fragile marine resources of the Cayman Islands”.
While shoreline fishing is not allowed within the marine reserve zones, the marine parks system was designed with alternating marine reserve and ‘open’ or line fishing zones, the statement noted. “This is to allow fish to build up and then move out from the marine reserves into adjoining zones as a means of promoting sustainable fisheries in the Cayman Islands. Sustainable fishing from shore is included in these ‘open’ and line fishing zones,” it continued.
The maps and rules of the marine parks are available for download from the Department of Environment website. Department officials say they are available to talk to anyone with questions about the rules either individually, or in group settings.