Conservation Council boss pleads for poachers to stop

Two individuals were warned for intended prosecution after Department of Environment Conservation Officers caught them with 195 conch and four lobsters on 16 July. Photo: DoE

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.

National Conservation Council Chairman McFarlane Conolly makes a point at the general meeting Wednesday. – Photo: Reshma Ragoonath

The NCC chairman also commented on the illegal action at this week’s general meeting of the council, calling it unfortunate.

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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:
Grand Cayman:
916-4271 or 916 5849
Cayman Brac:
Little Cayman:
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].

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  1. Until there are stiff penalties imposed as outlined in the laws, poaching will continue as it has for years. In addition, this may be another outcome of the continuing border closures due to COVID 19. No work and small government stipend can lead folks in desperation to do things they may not normally do.

  2. Pleading with these poachers is like “urging” our anti-vaxers to get vaccinated, a total waste of breath. The only way to stop them is a long jail sentence, but you can’t stop them until you catch them. A couple of enforcement officers patrolling our entire coastline is laughable and the poachers take advantage. This latest pair and others have no doubt been helping themselves from our Marine Reserves on a regular basis. Another problem are the restaurants which facilitate these crimes, these guys were not going home to gorge themselves on 195 marinated conchs.