National Conservation Council Chairman McFarlane Conolly has issued an open appeal to poachers to end their assault on local wildlife.
His call comes as the Department of Environment warned two individuals for intended prosecution after conservation officers caught them with 195 conch and four lobsters on 16 July.
The incident, which was described as a poaching event by the DoE, happened in the Frank Sound Marine Reserve.
“I appeal to those involved Stop this! – it is ridiculous, selfish and unconscionable,” Conolly said in a written statement following queries from the Cayman Compass on the incident.
The NCC chairman also commented on the illegal action at this week’s general meeting of the council, calling it unfortunate.
He told the Compass the conchs, which were confiscated on Friday 16 July, “are indicative of the wanton destruction being perpetrated by poachers”.
“Wanton for more reasons than one. First, a significant portion of each conch is missing, presumably left in the shell (wasted). Secondly, one hundred and ninety-five clearly suggests that these were not harvested for the nuclear family but for other unscrupulous entities,” he said.
The DoE, in a post about the incident on its official Facebook page, said the area where the incident happened has been protected for 30 years.
Additionally, the DoE pointed out that both conch and lobster seasons are now closed, compounding the illegality of the action.
The seized marine life was donated to The Pines Retirement Home.
Have information on poaching or other environment offences?
Call a conservation officer:
916-4271 or 916 5849
Or call 911
Two weeks ago, poachers also made off with a nesting green turtle on Sand Hole Road in West Bay.
This incident was reported to the NCC by DoE Deputy Director Tim Austin as he presented a motion to redirect funds to keep the CCTV surveillance on the popular nesting beach going.
Conolly reminded would-be culprits that “your actions have consequences”.
The penalty for offences under the National Conservation Law can be up to four years in jail, a $500,000 fine, and confiscation of equipment and vehicles used in the offence, at the discretion of the judge, the DoE has warned.
Anyone with questions about conservation issues or rules can email [email protected].