(CMR) The Department of Environment has assured the public that recently approved Marine Park regulations do not prohibit fishing from all areas along the Cayman Islands' shores.
The Department has received several inquiries by members of the public concerning designated fishing areas along the shores.
Dwayne Seymour, Minister for Health, Environment, Culture and Housing, said while there the recent regulations have designated fishing zones, there are several areas along the shores that remain ‘open zones,' allowing for fishing to take place.
“The enhanced Marine Parks regulations recently approved by the Cabinet includes, among other areas, designated line fishing zones. There are also many areas of coastline around all three Cayman Islands that do not fall within the Marine Parks system. They are ‘open zones’ where fishing is allowed,” Seymour pointed out.
The 8-inch size limit for fish still applies in these ‘open zones’ and other general species protections such as the limits on conch and lobster. In addition, it is illegal to kill sharks or rays, or other protected species.
The Department of Environment also confirmed that the regulations allow fishing in over half of the Cayman Islands’ near-shore waters (from the shore to 150ft deep).
Some line fishing zones within the enhanced marine parks system have even been combined with ‘no-diving’ overlay zones. This approach was developed to preserve fishing access in those areas while balancing user demands on the limited and fragile marine resources of the Cayman Islands.
While the marine reserve zones do not allow shoreline fishing, the DOE said the Marine Parks system was designed with alternating marine reserve and ‘open’ or line fishing zones. This allows fish to build up and then move out from the marine reserves into adjoining zones to promote sustainable fisheries in the Cayman Islands. Sustainable fishing from shore is included in these ‘open’ and line fishing zones.
The maps and rules of the marine parks are available for download from the Department of Environment website. The Department is also available to talk to anyone with questions about the rules either individually or in group settings. http://doe.ky/marine/marine-parks/