Message from the minister to mark World Oceans Day

| 08/06/2018
CNS Local Life

Fishing line bin on the Cayman Islands

Environment Minister Dwayne Seymour writes: Our Islands are known for many things, one of the most important of them being our beautiful sea. Seeing that the Caribbean Sea and wider oceans are such a vital part of the history and identity of the Cayman Islands, we want to do all we can to protect and conserve it, which is why the Cayman Islands is celebrating World Oceans Day on 8 June, 2018.

Since 2009, the United Nationals has officially recognised World Oceans Day, a project initially coordinated by The Ocean Project in 2002. The organisers note that “every year on June 8, World Oceans Day is celebrated across the world by reducing plastic pollution and creating solutions for a more sustainable society.”

The Cayman Islands takes pride in the effort and strides made to facilitate the rehabilitation and sustainability of our natural environment and natural resources, much of which focuses on the sea and its life forms.

Departments like the Department of Environment (DoE) should be recognised for their work protecting our oceans, coral reefs, and other marine life. In addition to helping to implement the National Conservation Law with the National Conservation Council, whose aim is to “promote and secure biological diversity and the sustainable use of natural resources in Cayman”, the DoE also has research and monitoring projects and programmes which enable the protection of important marine species and habitats.

Another organisation vital to the conservation of our oceans is the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) in our very own Little Cayman, where oceanographic and ecological research, conservation, and education takes place (CCMI, 2017). Having dialogue with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), projects target the maintenance of coral reefs, which is vital to the ecosystem as well as our tourism industry. With tourism being one of Caymans predominant industries, it is also important to realize that not only is saving the oceans essential for our environment but also for our economy.

Non-governmental organisations, businesses and individuals are also to be commended for their efforts. These include Eco Chic Cayman, Plastic Free Cayman, Sustainable Cayman, Shark Conservation Cayman, Cayman Eco Divers, Save Cayman, Guy Harvey Tracking Institute to name a few.

With millions of people across the world taking part in World Oceans Day, we too want to take action for a better future. The celebration of our oceans brings together students, professionals, businesses and organisations all alike. We want to specifically encourage young people to take an interest in saving our oceans and helping the environment, as we believe they are the key to success. As the leaders of tomorrow, they have the most to lose, which is why we want them to be inspired to take action and fight for the rights of our oceans.

We can make a difference everyday by stopping, or at minimum reducing the use of plastic straws, plastic bags and plastic bottles, which are the three most problematic polluters of our ocean (World Oceans Day, 2018). We must also acknowledge that threats such as overfishing, coastal over-development, and mangrove removal are all problems that contribute to the destruction of the ecosystem (Jukam, 2016). World Oceans Day reminds us of our hopes to maintain vibrant oceans and the healthy life within them; however, this can only be achieved through the effort of our government, NGOs, and, most importantly, the citizens of our island.

For more information on how you can help, please visit the following the World Oceans Day website and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment website.

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Category: Environment, Marine Environment

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