All posts tagged: diving in the cayman islands

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 …

Welcome To Sharkphoria

What is Sharkphoria? Sharkphoria is a science based Patreon channel dedicated to creating shark awareness and to share marine biology content through videos. The person behind Sharkphoria and creator of the videos is a marine biologist and shark researcher, Johanna Kohler, based in the Cayman Islands. As part of the non-profit collaboration, Shark Conservation Cayman, Johanna studies the local shark population which is also part of her PhD. Her shark research interests include shark behaviour and ecology, shark reproduction and human-shark conflict mitigation. By becoming a Sharkphoria Patron, anyone can now step into Johanna’s world and join her on the journey to a PhD in shark research as she is not only sharing fun, science based shark video tutorials, but also exclusive insights and first hand experiences. Sharks are one of the most misunderstood creatures.  Many people fear sharks as a result of blockbuster movies and sensationalizing media.  Media, which continues to give sharks a negative reputation, doesn’t help.  According to Johanna, sharks are not something to be feared, but rather respected. What is truly …

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 …

Dive Into Coral Reef Conservation

Grand Cayman Eco Divers has officially launched their non-profit foundation “Eco Divers Reef Foundation” established 28 November 2017 and is based in the Cayman Islands.  Founders Brittany Balli and Aaron Hunt, are a husband and wife team, that are dedicated to their Coral Nursery Program aimed to restore fragile and damaged reefs in the Cayman Islands.  A primary focus of their coral conservation efforts is maintaining local coral nurseries and coral out plant sites.  Since the inception of coral nurseries in the Cayman Islands it has proven to be successful.  Likewise, they are devoted to ensuring a positive future for Cayman’s reefs by educating the youth and the community of the Cayman Islands about the importance of coral reefs, ocean conservation and the proper techniques of working with coral nurseries.  Their non-profit foundation was created as a separate organization from their dive company Grand Cayman Eco Divers to help generate funding for coral conservation efforts in the Cayman Islands. Conserving Cayman’s Reefs   Over the last few decades, the Cayman Islands has seen a significant …

Cayman Islands Coral Watch Programme

On 23rd September 2017, the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE) documented the first reports of a new coral bleaching event in the Cayman Islands.  Scientists have been investigating how widespread and intense the bleaching is across all three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.  A particularly striking find was on Andes Reef, north coast of Grand Cayman, where there were sightings of coral bleaching happening up to depths of 50 meters.  This year’s coral bleaching event has been meticulously monitored and documented by the DOE and they continue to gather data, photos, videos and conduct surveys to fully assess the impact.  As the DOE documents this stress response, they are paying close attention to 3 particular factors: 1.       Which locations of coral reefs are affected by the bleaching 2.       What species of coral are affected and which are remaining healthy 3.       What depths are bleached corals found For instance, some coral reefs on the west side of the island in shallow depths currently …