All posts tagged: coral reefs

People Protect What They Love

“People protect what they love, they love what they understand and they understand what they are taught.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau, The quote above has always resonated with me. It’s true, people protect what they love. Growing up in the Cayman Islands I learned from an early age that our oceans, marine life, and coral reefs are one of the greatest treasures and assets we have been bestowed custodians of. We have a moral obligation to protect and preserve the precious coral reefs surrounding our islands. After all, our coral reefs are the very heart of Cayman. From a young age, in school, we are taught that Cayman has always had a strong and deep connection to the ocean. Our Coat of Arms has the words, “He Hath Founded It Upon The Seas” inscribed.  For many of us, these words serve as a reminder that our past, present, and future is and always will be linked to the ocean. The generations before us built our heritage on this strong connection to the ocean.  The Cayman Islands heavily …

Meet Our Local Sharks & The People Protecting Them

The Caribbean is famous for being a paradise, rich in colour, biodiverse coral reefs and an abundance of marine life including sharks.  A healthy population of sharks is an indicator of a healthy reef ecosystem and is valuable not only for our marine environment but also for the tourism industry and our economy.  The Cayman Islands is one of the most popular diving destinations in the world and people travel from all over to experience our world renowned underwater world but also for the opportunity to see a shark(s) on their dive.  A survey in 2011 showed that sharks are worth more alive than dead in Cayman. The economic value of an alive shark was estimated to be about US$54 million per year.  So not only do sharks help keep the balance in the marine environment but also add to our islands economy.  The survey also showed that even if tourists don’t want to see sharks while swimming, they do want to know that there is a healthy shark population in Cayman as it is …

Protecting the Sharks of the Cayman Islands

Sharks play an integral role in protecting the balance of coral reef ecosystems and the marine environment.  Since April 2015, the National Conservation Law provides protection for sharks and rays in the Cayman Islands.  Provisions under the National Conservation Law effectively make Cayman Waters a sharks and rays sanctuary.  All shark species are protected in the entire Cayman Waters including, coastal and offshore.  This year marks the 3rd anniversary of protecting sharks and rays in the Cayman Islands.  Shark conservation efforts continue to remain a priority as sharks are an invaluable species to our island’s marine environment and coral reef ecosystems.  There are 8 species of sharks that can be regularly found in Cayman waters including: Great Hammerhead, Lemon Shark, Caribbean Reef Shark, Blacktip, Tiger Shark, Oceanic Whitetip, Silky Shark, and Nurse Stark.  Some species of sharks found in Cayman waters reside all year long inhabiting coastal waters.  Whereas, other species of sharks are pelagic and seasonally pass through Cayman while on migratory routes.   The Cayman Islands is synonymous with marine tourism and famous …

Sea of Life: We Have The Power To Restore Balance

It is a huge honor to share with you our feature on Sea of Life documentary, a film debut by Julia Barnes.  Her documentary has won prestiges awards from International Film Festivals including: Winner Award of Merit Impact Doc Awards, Winner of Emerging Filmmakers Ontario 150 Film Challenge Water Docs, and the Cayman Islands very own Cayfilm. Filmmaker Julia Barnes spent over 3 years and visited seven countries to film her documentary.  The driving force that inspired Julia Barnes to make this documentary was from watching Rob Stewart’s documentary Revolution.  At 16 years old, Julia’s journey of filming her first documentary began and is a true inspiration.  Her bravery and tenacity is admirable.  She is a hero for committing to her passion for conservation, raising awareness about environmental issues and sharing what she learned through her documentary.  At the heart of her film, Sea of Life “dives into some of the most spectacular ecosystems on the planet, exposing both the destruction that’s happening in the ocean and the efforts underway to stop it,” says Julia …

Ocean Guard: Protecting an Underwater Paradise

People protect what they love, it is that simple.  Many of us share an incredible love and respect for our oceans, coral reefs and marine life.  “Coral reefs are the largest living structure on the planet, and the only living structure to be visible from space” (IYOR).  Coral reefs have been in existence and evolved on earth over the past 200 to 300 million years. (IYOR)  Right now, coral reefs are more vulnerable than ever before.  Coral reefs are degrading because of arising changes in their natural environment and the disruption of the balance of the ocean.  The accumulation of stressors are having a profound effect upon coral reefs putting them in a precarious state.  Some of the major threats coral reefs face right now are: ocean acidification, coral bleaching, over-fishing, pollution, coral diseases, invasive species and coastal developments.  Coral reefs are disappearing at an unprecedented rate.  This results in the loss of precious ecosystems and habitats for marine life.  Coral reefs play an integral role in maintaining the balance of the ocean, ecosystems and …

Local Artist Kaitlyn Elphinstone: Highlighting the Fragility of our Oceans

Local artist and environmentalist Kaitlyn Elphinstone is using her art as a platform to raise ocean awareness and start a discussion about environmental issues.  Some of the important environmental topics Kaitlyn’s artwork touches on are: the importance of coral, the disappearance of our coastlines, and plastic waste polluting our oceans.  Her unique artistic style is a beautiful merge between a range of mediums and her love for the ocean.  Kaitlyn uses her artwork as a powerful tool to communicate the strong connection we have to our environment and the impact we have on the planet.  Bold visuals with an elegant aesthetic, draws viewers into the beauty of her work.  As well as, to the underlying message that has been intricately interwoven into her artwork.  For instance, her piece ‘Woven Sea Fan and Plastic Bag’ beautifully articulates the growing issue of plastic invading the ocean and disrupting sea life.  The juxtaposition between a fragile sea fan and a plastic bag, serves as a reminder that the ocean’s ecosystems are fragile and the delicate balance can easily …