Author: ecochiccayman

A Call to Action: Help Shark Conservation. Adopt a Shark.

As custodians of our stunning coral reefs and charismatic marine life, for over 30 years the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE) has been protecting our island’s precious marine environment by establishing marine parks. Since 2015, the DOE increased marine protection by designating Cayman’s waters as a sharks and rays sanctuary, under the National Conservation Law. In part of DOE’s shark conservation efforts, shark research is an ongoing project to gather data about Cayman’s shark populations and monitor their behavior and patterns. Additionally, CayBrew’s Whitetip Fund supports DOE’s shark project with a focus on tagging sharks to improve shark research and conservation efforts in the Cayman Islands. The shark project utilizes four methods as a means to comprehensively gather pertinent data about Cayman’s sharks. The methods used are: tagging with an acoustic transmitter, BRUV (baited remote underwater video) surveys, photo identification of individual sharks and shark sighting logging. To read more about this ongoing project click here Sharks are of significant value to our coral reefs and other marine environments. According to a report by …

Sharks of the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are known for being a popular diving destination in the Caribbean with over 365 dive sites. Some of the main attractions of dive sites in the Cayman Islands include wreck diving at famous shipwrecks such as, the Kittiwake, the Balboa, the Oro Verde as well as our biodiverse reefs. In order to help maintain our status as a diving destination hotspot, the Cayman Islands for over 30 years, has been protecting its marine life and reefs with Marine Parks. In 2015, the Cayman Islands increased their ocean conservation as the National Conservation Law effectively put protection measures in place for sharks and rays. Sharks are an apex predator, at the top of the marine food chain, as a result they regulate the species at lower down the chain levels, helping to keep marine ecosystems such as reefs balanced. Sharks therefore are a considerable asset to our islands reefs and other marine ecosystems. Additionally, sharks are beneficial to ecotourism as many visiting snorkelers and divers are keen to see large charismatic marine life, …

Working with Sharks

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a shark researcher for a day? Today’s feature is a Q&A with Johanna Kohler, Shark Project Research Officer at the Cayman Islands Department of Environment.  Johanna Kohler is an accomplished Marine Biologist, specializing in shark behavior and ecology, currently based in the Cayman Islands. She has gained valuable experience from both, working and traveling, all over the world, giving her an impressive portfolio in the field. As an advocate for ocean conservation, Johanna Kohler is passionate about protecting and preserving sharks. Her respect and love for sharks is evident through her commitment to study sharks in order to gain valuable insight for the betterment of shark conservation. Sharks are majestic creatures that have unfortunately been misunderstood. As a result sharks are mostly portrayed in a negative light, resulting in them being wrongly feared. In actuality what we should be afraid of is an ocean without sharks, not an ocean with sharks. Sharks play a vital role in regulating the health of the ocean and keeping marine …

10 things you didn’t know about Cayman’s sharks

Today’s feature is a guest post by Johanna Kohler. 1. Little Cayman and Brac escape. Some individuals of our Caribbean reef shark population travel between Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.  A female Caribbean reef shark which was tagged in 2013 in Grand Cayman traveled regularly to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac over the next 3 years before its tag died in 2015. 2. What’s your name? • Bash Brothers and Little Basher – Bro action The Bash Brothers are two male sharks in East End of Grand Cayman. They like to swim together, one behind the other on the edge of the wall. Recently a smaller male shark has joined the team – hence “Little Basher”. One of the Bash Brothers has a distinctive scar on its gills. Some days they may be inquisitive on other days they may ignore you. When you go diving within their home range they may show up. • Scarlet/Smudge – the friendly Caribbean reef shark Scarlet, also known as Smudge, is an old local at East End …

Spotted: Shark Conservation in Action

In 2009, the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE), in partnership with Marine Conservation International (MCI), began studying Cayman’s sharks.  This initiative was originally sponsored by a UK Darwin Plus grant and by CayBrew’s, Whitetip Fund.  The Darwin Plus project has recently concluded and subsequently, since the beginning of the year, the project is now fully supported locally by CayBrew’s Whitetip Fund and continues to focus on improving shark research and conservation efforts in Cayman. In recent developments and in part due to the hard work and efforts of both DOE and MCI, sharks and rays were included as totally protected species in the December 2013, National Conservation Law the provisions of that law effectively make the waters of the Cayman Islands a shark and ray sanctuary, since April 2015.  Shark research continues in order to monitor Cayman’s shark populations.  The research helps to better understand our sharks and the threats they face which results in better informed management decisions and ultimately more effective protection and conservation.  Providing a safe haven is key to effective …

Ghost Nets: Silent Killers of the Ocean

“My work in this underwater photography performance realm is to use my body and my movements as a human canvas for these issues.  Because quite simply, ocean conservation is a human issue.” -Christine Ren Christine Ren, is embarking on a new environmental campaign to raise awareness about “Ghost Nets” silent killers of the ocean.  Ren is combining her background in dance with underwater photography once again. Her aim is to draw attention to the serious threat fishing nets and lines impose on marine life.  The imagery is powerful, as it illustrates the vulnerability of marine life and the plight they face.  Ren’s thought provoking photographs, turns that tables by bringing into focus what it would be like if a human being endured the same struggle and pain marine life undergo when they become tangled in nets or ingest them.  By reversing the situation, we can’t help, but feel empathy. We cannot ignore the serious nature of the issue and harm caused by derelict fishing gear floating around in the ocean.  The ballerinas are wrapped in …