November 27, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Will Cayman ever get an environmental minster who actually cares?

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Colin WilsonwebSeemingly, every Cayman Islands Minister for the Environment taking that responsible position for a long time now has been dragging their feet on every proposal put forward by the Department of the Environment (DoE).

What is worse, the present minister, Mark Scotland, who publicly said he didn’t really want the job, has been no different except he has worn two lead shoes instead of one.

Because of complaints from a few ill informed but vociferous fishermen who have votes in an Election Year, it seems unlikely the planned expansion of the marine parks is going to happen anytime soon.

Even though the data in the plans put forward by DoE was based on scientific evidence and extensive research in the face of the pressing need to preserve the reefs and marine habitat surrounding the Cayman Islands.

25 years ago there was thankfully more enlightened persons in government and steps were taken to protect our reefs but no one is listening now.

A report has just been issued in Nature Communications executed by reef experts at the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia and University of Exeter in the UK.

One of the reef experts, Professor Chris Perry said the current rates of reef growth in the Caribbean are extremely alarming.

Perry explained:

“Our study goes beyond only examining how much coral there is, to also look at the delicate balance of biological factors which determine whether coral reefs will continue to grow or will erode. Our findings clearly show that recent ecological declines are now suppressing the growth potential of reefs in the region, and that this will have major implications for their ability to respond positively to future sea level rises. It is most concerning that many coral reefs across the Caribbean have seemingly lost their capacity to produce enough carbonate to continue growing vertically, whilst others are already at a threshold where they may start to erode. Urgent action to improve management of reef habitats is critical to reduce further deterioration of reef habitat.”

As no one in government wants to do anything our planned expansion of the parks will not be needed. All the preservation work that has been achieved here will soon see Cayman’s reefs deteriorating as badly as others in the Caribbean.

Then there will be no fish and nothing to attract divers.

But all that is for someone else to take care of. For now we don’t have that person.

My worry is that we may never get one.

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