Having lobbied for the ban on Nassau Grouper fishing in the Cayman Islands to be extended, noted marine conservationist Guy Harvey has now launched a campaign to protect stingrays in the Caymans:
Marine wildlife artist and conservationist Dr Guy Harvey is leading a petition drive calling on the government of the Cayman Islands to immediately put the National Conservation Law into effect, ensuring the safety and protection of all stingrays in the country’s territorial waters.
Currently, stingrays are only protected in the country’s designated Wildlife Interaction Zones, Stingray City and the Sandbar, two of the island’s best known tourist attractions. Harvey said that outside of the zones there is no protection for stingrays and they can be removed and/or caught and eaten by local residents.
The National Conservation Act would close this loophole.
“The wellbeing of stingrays affects every single person in the Cayman Islands,” said Harvey, who pointed out that half a million visitors per year from around the world come to swim and interact with these charismatic animals. “By signing this petition you are speaking out against the unconscionable acts of harming stingrays, especially when taking them out of their natural habitat.”
Time is critical, according to Harvey, a marine biologist, who calls the Cayman Islands home.
To review and sign the petition, go here.
The goal is to reach 10,000 signatures.
“Maintaining the ecological health of these stingray populations for the long-term will require management and conservation programs based on a thorough knowledge of the biology of these animals,” said Harvey, who initiated research work on the Cayman Island’s southern stingray (Dasyatis americana) population in 2012.
Harvey said the situation at the Sandbar in North Sound is unique, with a large number of wild rays that are not fenced or contained and inhabit the shallow clear water with accessibility every day of the year. The socio-economic value of the rays to the Cayman economy is enormous. Each animal may generate US$500,000 in revenue per year and, assuming they live more than 20 years, may generate US$10,000,000 in a lifetime.
Read more from the Guy Harvey Magzine.
[Photo: John Carleton on Flickr.]