Conservation of Cayman Islands
Here in the Cayman Islands the Department of Environment (DoE), a government agency, is responsible for the management and conservation of the environment and natural resources.
Marine Parks have been in place among all three islands for more than 25 years. The conservation of sharks in the Caymans has been more recently enforced, since 2013 under the National Conservation Law. Recently White Sand has become involved in the Sharklogger Programme, so as a dive centre we can contribute to shark conservation.
In the Cayman Islands, it is illegal to “take” any shark within coastal or offshore waters. “Take” means it is illegal to harm, possess or kill a shark with stiff penalties if convicted.
What is the Sharklogger programme?
The Sharklogger programme is run by the DoE. It’s a collaboration of divers; recreational and professional, contributing towards shark conversation by logging all diving activities throughout the year. The aim is to better understand shark populations.
As a dive centre we log all of our dives, regardless of whether sharks were spotted. Johanna Kohler, who is the Sharklogger Research Officer at the DoE, has provided template spreadsheets which include all the information required to shark log; size of shark, any notable markings, dive site details etc. (Got to admit, it’s hard to remember to look out for specific details whilst a shark is swimming past you). We submit all the logs at the end of the month and the information is used to support their database gathered through surveying and tagging. Check out their website to get involved.
Thanks to the efforts from the Sharkloggers over the past two years, we were able to confirm and discover patterns in terms of abundance and behaviour of our sharks in Cayman.
Why Sharks Matter?
Sharks are essential to the marine environment. As apex predators, they help keep the balance of reef fish communities healthy and therefore coral reefs remain thriving.
What else can you do to help? Drink White Tip beer! The Cayman Islands Brewery contributes every time a White Tip is purchased.