4 11.1 OVERVIEW11.1 OVERVIEWThe Cayman Islands are three small islands that lie approximately 241 km (150 miles) south of Cuba and 290 km (180 miles) west of Jamaica almost in the center of the Caribbean Sea. The Cayman Islands are composed of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.Christopher Columbus discovered the islands in 1503 and named them Las Tortugas after the large sea turtles he sighted in the surrounding seas. Sea turtles have subsequently become very important to the cultural heritage of the Cayman people. The islands were later renamed “Caymanas” from the Carib Indian word for a crocodile.With a tradition as shipbuilders, sailors, turtlers, fishermen, and in rope-making, the people of the Cayman Islands have a long history of being a resourceful and resilient people.Once a dependency of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands came under direct British rule after Jamaica declared independence in Granted greater autonomy under a 1972 constitution, the islands today are largely self-governing and economically self-sufficient.
5 11.1 OVERVIEWThe Cayman Islands have many natural attractions. Coral reefs, beaches and abundant marine life make them a popular destination for tourists and other visitors for scuba diving, snorkeling, and other water sports.The Cayman Islands are also one of the world's largest financial centres with several hundred banks and financial institutions, and tens of thousands of companies that operate through the islands. Tourism, banking and property have overtaken the traditional trades of fishing, turtle hunting and shipbuilding.CLIMATETropical. The average temperature is a pleasant °C (68-75°F) between mid-December and mid-April with lowest humidity (tourist peak season). The average temperature for the rest of year is 28.3°C (83°F). Rainfall is highest from mid-May through October. The water temperature is about 24°C (75°F) in winter and 29°C (85°F) in summer with visibility ranging from m ( ft).CAPITALGeorge Town, Grand CaymanPOPULATION40,000 (about 37,000 live in Grand Cayman)Interesting!The Cayman Islands are most famous for:Coral ReefsBeachesScuba DivingFishingWater SportsTourismBanking & FinanceProperty
8 11.1 OVERVIEWGeographyAll three Cayman Islands are low-lying, flat-topped landmasses which are the tips of massive submarine mountains that just barely emerge from the ocean.Encircling each island are shallow waters and a reef system harboring a rich diversity of marine life. The world-renowned Seven Mile Beach and the sheer coral reef walls surrounding all three islands have made the Cayman Islands one of the premiere tourism destinations in the Caribbean. At Bloody Bay Wall for example, on the north shore of Little Cayman, the sea floor ends abruptly at a depth of only m (18-25 ft) before dropping off to a 1,800 m (6,000 ft) vertical cliff. Along the face of the wall grows a large variety of corals, sponges, and other coral reef life.The bedrock of all three islands is a porous limestone. Although this is thousands of meters thick, it is built from the external skeletons of millions upon millions of tiny marine organisms, mostly corals.
9 11.1 OVERVIEWLong before Columbus navigated the three islands on his last voyage, major tectonic unrest along the boundary of the Caribbean and North American plates created a ridge from Cuba southwestward to Nicaragua. This ridge created a series of mounds across the Caribbean Sea that were close enough to the sunlit surface for corals to begin to congregate and settle. Slowly, over 40 million years, through several major shifts in the earth’s climate and dramatic fluctuations in sea levels, the Cayman Islands were formed.Even the rock formations that rim the shores are remnants of reefs that formed only in the last few thousand years as ice melted and the sea level rose. During times of lower sea level, large caves formed in the limestone as it dissolved (imagine that underneath the islands the rocks look like Swiss cheese!)
10 11.1 OVERVIEWOver time, corals built the modern fringing reef up to sea level, creating a powerful barrier to large waves, protecting the islands from erosion, and allowing plants to grow.The reefs and their inhabitants produced sand for the beaches and provided a barrier for the shallow lagoons. The reefs also play a significant role in reducing coastal flooding as the sea level continues to rise. The connection between the reef, sandy beaches and mangroves that developed are evident.The three islands also have no rivers that can carry sediment and nutrients into the sea, which gives the Cayman Islands some of the clearest waters on Earth. The healthy marine environment of the Cayman Islands provides inhabitants food, shelter and the very land that they live on.
12 11.1 OVERVIEW 11.1.2 Historical Timeline 1503 For the first century after Columbus happened upon the Cayman Islands in 1503, the islands were uninhabited by people, the main inhabitants being turtles. The sun-bleached landscape languished in near-pristine state, undisturbed but for the occasional sailors stopping to replenish ship stores on turtles and to refill freshwater barrels.Unlike many Caribbean Islands, pre-Columbian artefacts have never been discovered on the islands. Archaeologists have suggested that the Amerindians, who had excellent maritime skills, may not have an interest in permanently settling in the Cayman Islands because the islands had swamps with mosquitoes and did not have much fresh water.1586Sir Francis Drake's fleet of 23 ships stops for two days at Grand Cayman. The island is not inhabited but crocodiles, alligators, iguanas and numerous turtles are recorded.
13 11.1 OVERVIEW 1655 England captures Jamaica from the Spanish. 1670 Under the Treaty of Madrid, Spain recognizes England's sovereignty over Jamaica and various other Caribbean islands, including the Cayman Islands.No permanent settlers set up house on Grand Cayman until after the 1670 acquisition of the islands and its turtles by the British Crown, which has held dominion over the three islands ever since. Once settlers started trickling in from Jamaica in the early 18th Century, Cayman Islanders quickly established their reputations as world-class seafarers.
14 11.1 OVERVIEW1680–1718Edward Teach (“Blackbeard”), a notorious English pirate, frequented the Cayman Islands, reputedly spending quite a bit of time around Cayman Brac.1700Permanent settlement had probably begun by this time with a few families, notably the Boddens, living on Grand Cayman.Land grants and records of land transactions discovered in Jamaica, England and Spain provide a fairly good early history of settlement. With formal land grants reported from the 1730s–1740s in Grand Cayman, settlement evidently began at the East End of Grand Cayman. Historical records indicate Isaac Bodden as the first recorded inhabitant of Grand Cayman who was born on Cayman around The East End district was formerly known as Old Isaacs. Stories have it that Isaac was the grandson of one of Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers who helped capture Jamaica in Other stories indicate that the first settlers were two soldiers from Oliver Cromwell’s disbanded army with the names of Walter and Bowden in 1658.Five land grants in Grand Cayman are made by the Governor of Jamaica. Mahogany and logwood are being exported to Jamaica. Population perhaps
15 11.1 OVERVIEW1773First survey or map of Cayman made by the Royal Navy. Population is about 400 (approximately half free, half slaves).1780sFrom the 1780s, the Cayman shipbuilding industry produces schooners and other sea craft for inter-island trade. Cotton, turtles, sarsaparilla and wood being exported to Jamaica.1790Fort George probably constructed to ward off attacks by French or Spanish pirates.1794"Wreck of the Ten Sails" occurs. Ten ships, including HMS Convert, the navy ship leading a convoy of 58 merchantmen, wrecked off East End.1798First record of a magistrate in Cayman being appointed by Governor of Jamaica.1800By 1800, the population numbered less than 1,000 – of which half were slaves. After the Slavery Abolition Act (1834) was read at Pedro St. James in 1835, most freed slaves remained and by 1900 the Cayman population had quintupled.
16 11.1 OVERVIEW1820sLocal laws being passed by a self-appointed group of "principal inhabitants."1831Decision to form an elected assembly taken at Pedro Castle on 5th December. Elections follow on 10th and new Assembly passes first legislation on 31st December. Population is approximately 2,000.1835Governor Sligo of Jamaica lands in Cayman to declare all slaves free in accordance with the British Slavery Abolition Act of 1834.1830sFirst missionaries from the Anglican and Wesleyan churches visit and a church is built in George Town.1830s-1840sFirst schools established by the Mico Charity and Wesleyans.1846Presbyterian church established by the Rev. James Elmslie.
17 11.1 OVERVIEW1863Act of the Imperial Parliament in London makes Cayman a dependency of Jamaica (although Cayman had been loosely "governed" as such from 1670).1898Frederick Sanguinetti, an official in the Jamaican Government, appointed as the first Commissioner of the Cayman Islands. Cayman will be governed by Commissioners until 1962.1920A major Education Act provides for government schools in all districts.1937The first cruise ship (“Atlantis”) visits. This signals the beginnings of tourism with the first tourist booklet published.During World War II, a "Home Guard" is formed to provide protection and surveillance of enemy shipping.1950sUntil the mid-20th Century, the economy would remain tied to the sea with fishing, sea turtle fishing and shipbuilding as the main industries.
18 11.1 OVERVIEW1950sDivers put the Cayman Islands on the international tourist map as early as the 1950s. A number of hotels open as adventurous tourists begin to visit the islands.1953An airfield is opened in Grand Cayman, eventually replacing the seaplane service which had operated since the 1940s.The George Town Hospital is opened. Barclays Bank, the first commercial bank, opens.1959Cayman receives its first written constitution which grants the vote to women. Cayman ceases to be a dependency of Jamaica.1962Following Jamaica's independence from Great Britain, Cayman chooses to remain a Crown Colony, governed by an administrator who reports directly to Westminster.
19 11.1 OVERVIEW1966Cayman Islanders begin fashioning the tax structure that has made Grand Cayman an economic powerhouse and designing an infrastructure that has made it a capital of Caribbean tourism. Landmark legislation is introduced to encourage banking industry.1970Population of the Cayman Islands is 10,249 with only 403 visitors.1972New Constitution introduced under which Cayman is governed by a Legislative Assembly, Executive Council and a Governor.2004Hurricane Ivan hits Grand Cayman in September, 2004, causing widespread destruction and halting tourism. A curfew is introduced to prevent looting. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman do not receive a direct hit and damage to the two smaller islands is more limited.TODAYPopulation of the Cayman Islands is about 50,000, most of which live in Grand Cayman. Historically, the population is an amalgamation of Jamaican, North American, European and African roots. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, a large influx of expatriate workers (from 78 countries and growing) has led Cayman Islanders to become a minority in their own country. The upside is that the Cayman Islands have a rich social fabric that celebrates diversity.
20 11.1 OVERVIEW 11.1.3 National Symbols FLAG The Cayman Islands flag consists of the Union Flag of the United Kingdom at the top left quarter of a dark blue background with the Cayman Islands crest appearing at the bottom right quarter.The Union flag or “Union Jack” is formed from three separate country flags:England; St. George (red cross on white background)Scotland; St. Andrew (white x on blue background)Ireland; St. Patrick (red x on white background)
21 11.1 OVERVIEWCOAT OF ARMSThe Cayman Islands were granted their own coat of arms on 14 May The arms depict three green gold edged stars on blue and white wavy lines. This represents the three islands and the blue lines, the Caribbean Sea.The red chief above the stars shows the Lion of England which represents the ties to Great Britain. The turtle is the national symbol of the Cayman Islands and the rope it stands on represents the thatch rope industry that is an important part of Cayman's history.The pineapple at the top of the Cayman Island arms symbolizes the time when the Islands were a dependency of Jamaica (which was until 1962 a dependency of Great Britain).MOTTOThe Cayman Island motto “He hath founded it upon the seas” is from the Bible. Psalm 24 Verses 1-2 are:1. The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.2. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
22 11.1 OVERVIEW 11.1.4 Natural Resources The Cayman Islands are embedded in an azure, turquoise and indigo coloured sea. Below these warm waters lie a world of corals, stingrays, sea turtles and tropical fish. Towering underwater walls, shipwrecks and reefs have made the Cayman Islands renowned among scuba divers and snorkellers while mile after mile of pristine white sand beaches, cliffs and caves are popular with tourists.In short, the Cayman Islands are blessed with many natural ocean resources that are highly in demand in today’s world including:Coral reefsSandy coasts – white sand beaches, cliffs & cavesMangrovesSea Food – fish, crustaceans and molluscsThe natural ocean resources support local inhabitants in a variety of industries such as tourism, shipping and fishing. These resources, coupled with good government, political stability and strong relationships with the UK and USA has led to a healthy economy and, in turn, wealth for Cayman Islanders. These resources will be described in more detail later.
23 11.1 OVERVIEW REFERENCES & FURTHER READING – Cayman Islands Government– Cayman Islands- Cayman Islands- Cayman Islands Timeline- Cayman Business Communityhttps://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cj.html - Cayman IslandsGorry, Conner, Kohnstamm, Thomas and Ver Berkmoes, Ryan, Caribbean Islands (Multi Country Guide), Lonely Planet (2007)Porter, Darwin and Prince, Danforth, Frommer’s Portable Cayman Islands, Wiley Publishing Inc. (2007)
25 11.2 CORAL REEFS 11.2 CORAL REEFS 11.2.1 Corals Although coral heads resemble rocks or plants, they are actually colonies of numerous marine animals living together.Corals are invertebrates (animals without backbones) and belong to the phylum Cnidaria and class Anthozoa.Corals are members of the same phylum as sea anemones, siphonophores, hydroids, true jellyfish and box jellyfish because all these animals have nematocysts (stinging cells) and their bodies are sac-like with a single opening at one end, which functions as a mouth and an anus.Corals are different from other cnidarians because they secrete an external skeleton around themselves and form colonies that are usually attached to a hard surface.Corals are considered the most important part of a reef because of the long-lasting structures they build and the habitat that these structures provide for countless reef organisms.Interesting!Relative to the enormous Great Barrier Reef of Australia, Caribbean coral reefs have a lower marine biodiversity. While Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has some 350 species of reef-building corals and 1,500 species of fish, in the Caribbean there are 60 species of corals and only a few hundred species of fish. Scientists conclude that the Caribbean region is highly vulnerable to disease and over exploitation as a direct result.
26 11.2 CORAL REEFS HARD VS. SOFT CORAL Corals can conveniently be considered as either hard or soft depending on the consistency and nature of their skeletons.Hard CoralsHard corals are reef-building corals that secrete a hard external limestone skeleton. This skeleton remains when the corals die and forms a base upon which other corals can grow. A coral polyp has tentacles, and hard coral polyp tentacles are arranged around the mouth in multiples of six. Hard corals grow in three basic forms: branching, massive, and plate. Examples include brain coral (a massive coral), elkhorn (a branching coral), and leaf coral (a plate coral). In the Cayman Islands alone, 44 species of hard coral can be found.Soft CoralsSoft corals produce a flexible skeleton made of a protein called gorgonin and do not significantly contribute to the building of a reef. Soft coral polyps have eight tentacles arranged around their mouth and are classified as octocorals. Examples of octocorals include common sea fans and sea whips. Octocorals take branching or fan-like shapes that bend and sway with the movement of the water. Typically, a sea fan blade faces into the prevailing current to help the coral trap food in the water.
27 11.2 CORAL REEFS ANATOMY Coral Polyp A coral polyp or body consists of a sac with a digestive cavity and a single opening that functions as mouth and anus. The open end of the polyp is surrounded by tentacles that help filter food into its central digestive cavity. Nematocysts (stinging cells) on the tentacles assist the coral in catching prey. The nematocysts paralyze the prey and the sticky tentacles then deposit the food in the coral's mouth.Stinging Cells (“Nematocysts”)Corals (and all cnidarians) have specialized cells that carry stinging organelles called nematocysts. These specialized stinging structures are a characteristic of the phylum and are borne in the tentacles and other body parts. Corals employ these stinging cells to kill prey. The nematocysts function by a chemical or physical trigger that causes it to eject a coiled fiber with a barbed and poisoned hook that can stick into prey. Dead or paralyzed prey is pushed into the coral's oral opening by the tentacles and digested in the digestive (gastrovascular) cavity. All undigested food, waste & other secretions leave through the same oral opening.
28 11.2 CORAL REEFS Coral Skeleton In the case of the hard corals, each polyp secretes a calcium carbonate (limestone) cup around itself, which is fused with others to form boulder or rock-like colonial fortresses. The deposition process is a slow one, but the efforts of one generation are not lost when the polyps die, for subsequent generations build over the skeletal cups of their dead ancestors ever increasing the coral's hold on the reef.In contrast, the soft coral polyps often secrete a horn-like substance, called gorgonin, into which the calcium carbonate is embedded. This arrangement gives the soft corals greater flexibility than their hard coral counterparts, allowing them to form more pliable, bushy or fan-shaped colonies. Because coral reefs are the leftover skeletons of once-living organisms and are not created by geological processes, they are called biogenic (“bio” means life and “genic” means create, so reefs are "created by life").DIETCorals are considered to be primarily carnivorous because they eat other small animals, such as fish, although some corals are omnivores and eat both plants and animals.Corals typically feed on animal and plant plankton which are microscopic in size. There are billions of plankton in the oceans. Animal plankton is called zooplankton while plant plankton is called phytoplankton.
29 11.2 CORAL REEFSSYMBIOSISCoral polyps form a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with algae called zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae are known as endosymbionts because they live inside (endo) the body of a coral polyp and are part of a symbiotic relationship (symbionts).Zooxanthellae have both animal & plant features but are usually considered to be algae since they are able to utilize energy from sunlight and use it to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and sugars (photosynthesis).When many zooxanthellae live within a coral polyp, they provide the polyp with extra food and oxygen from photosynthesis, which the polyp uses to build its skeleton. In exchange, the zooxanthellae are given a protected place to live and additional carbon dioxide produced by the coral polyp during respiration.Different zooxanthellae live with different corals and come in many different forms and colours. It is the zooxanthellae that give corals their beautiful colours. When corals are stressed, however, they eject their zooxanthellae. This makes them white or bleached; this condition is known as "coral bleaching".Corals do not generally thrive without their zooxanthellae and may even die.
30 11.2 CORAL REEFS DISTRIBUTION Coral reefs are generally located in warm tropical and subtropical regions of the world's oceans between 35°N and 35°S of the equator. Corals live in shallow, clear, and sunlit sea water at a temperature between 18°C and 36°C.There are three primary regions coral reefs are found: the Indo-Pacific (including the Indian and Pacific Oceans), the Red Sea and the Western Atlantic (including the Caribbean Sea). About 60% of the world's coral reefs are found in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea, 25% are in the Pacific Ocean, and the remaining 15% are in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean Sea.Coral reefs have evolved over millions of years. The reefs of the Western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea evolved slightly later as the Atlantic is the youngest of the world's oceans. Today's reefs represent about 10,000 years of accumulated growth since the end of the last ice age.REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Coral reefsImportant!Many of the world’s coral reefs are dying. Major threats to coral reefs are pollution (from sewage and agricultural runoff), dredging off the coast, collecting of coral specimens, and sedimentation (silt or sand from mining or construction muddies the waters of a reef and kills coral, which needs light to live). Environmental stresses can also lead to corals being more susceptible to disease.
31 11.2 CORAL REEFSImportant!Zooxanthellae have a symbiotic relationship with corals and live within a coral polyp. Among other functions, zooxanthellae also give corals their vibrant colours. However, under certain conditions, zooxanthellae can be “evicted” from a coral, which causes corals to lose their colour and become white, giving rise to the term "coral bleaching".A bleached coral loses a primary source of its food when it ejects its zooxanthellae, and it is more susceptible to disease and death. If conditions improve, a coral will accept new zooxanthellae, regain its colour, and recover. If not, a coral may not recover and may even die.Coral bleaching is a response to stress which are changes in the environment from the coral's ideal living conditions. The most common stresses that cause bleaching are changes in temperature, salinity, and increased ultra-violet radiation. Some anthropogenic stresses that may contribute to bleaching include nutrient loading from land runoff, increased sedimentation, and other forms of pollution.
32 11.2 CORAL REEFS 11.2.2 Coral Reef Life Cayman Island coral reef life is rich and diverse. It consists of many animals including:CORALSHard corals – brain coral, elkhorn coral, staghorn coralSoft corals – sea fans, sea whipsSPONGESTube spongesVase spongesBasket spongesCRUSTACEANSCrabs – hermit crabsShrimpsLobsters – Caribbean spiny lobsters (adults)MOLLUSCSCephalopods – octopus, squid, nautilusConch – queen conchECHINODERMSSea starsSea urchins
33 11.2 CORAL REEFSFISHESThe Cayman Islands boast about 350 species of fishes including:Bony Fish Families:Angelfish – French angelfish, grey angelfish, queen angelfishButterflyfish – spotfin butterflyfish, four-eyed butterflyfishDamselfish – sergeant majorsGoatfishGrunts – French grunts, smallmouth gruntsJacks – lookdowns, permitsMoray eels – green moraysParrotfish – stoplight parrotfish, blue parrotfishSea basses – sea basses and groupersSnappers – yellowtail snapperSurgeonfishTarponTriggerfish – queen triggerfishWrassesCartilaginous Fish Families:Eagle rays – spotted eagle raysStingrays – southern stingraysNurse sharksRequiem sharks – bull shark, sandbar shark, whitetip reef shark
34 11.2 CORAL REEFSThe following highlight some of the animals that are found on Cayman Island reefs and are of particular interest.QUEEN CONCHThe queen conch (Strombus gigas) grows to an average adult length of 25.4 cm (10 in). From birth, it creates a hard shell to protect its soft body. The mantle, a layer of skin surrounding the foot and lining the shell wall, discharges calcium carbonate as a liquid which hardens to form the shell. The inside of the shell is a beautiful pink colour. A conch shell grows in a clockwise spiral until a lip begins to form. The lip forms the base of the shell and helps prevent a conch from being overturned. Once the lip forms, the shell ceases most of its growth in length but it continues to thicken with age. Queen conch is a popular sea food. Indeed, demand for it is so great that, even with protection, conch is widely over-exploited and threatened in much of the Caribbean.SOUTHERN STINGRAYThe Southern stingray (Dasyatis americana) is a cartilaginous fish with a body that is almost a perfect rhombus shape. It can reach a length of 1.5 m (5 ft) across disk and is usually a bottom-dweller that lies buried in sand except for the eyes. It has a whip-like tail with a venomous spine at the base of its tail. Like all stingrays, it bears live young. The southern stingray eats clams, mussels, and oysters and has flattened teeth which are suitable for crushing shellfish.
35 11.2 CORAL REEFS BLUE PARROTFISH The blue parrotfish (Scarus coeruleus) has a sky to royal blue body, a blunt snout and a parrot-like beak from fused teeth. It eats corals and algae and swims using its pectoral fins. The blue parrotfish can reach a length of almost 122 cm (4 ft) but it is usually much smaller with a length of 61 cm (2ft)TARPONTarpon (Megalops atlanticus) are large, powerful, predatory silvery bony fish. They have large mouths with protruding lower jaws and they have large scales on their body. They are considered important game fish and can reach a length of 2.4 m (96 in) and weigh 136 kg (300 lb)REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Queen Conch
37 11.3 SANDY COASTS 11.3 SANDY COASTS Beaches, Cliffs, Caves & BlowholesBEACHESThe Cayman Islands are blessed with miles and miles of white-sand beaches. Coral reefs are a major source of white sand beaches. The white sand consists of crushed shells and limestone from coral skeletons, which are ground down and excreted by parrotfish. Some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the Cayman Islands include Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman, the southwest coast on Cayman Brac and Point of Sand on Little Cayman.CLIFFSProbably the most famous cliff in the Cayman Islands is the “Bluff”, a dramatic, wedge-shaped limestone formation that rises from the flatlands of the west end of Cayman Brac to a height of 42.6m (140 ft) traveling the length of the island before plunging into the sea. The word “Brac” comes from a Gaelic word for bluff. The Bluff is made of marine limestone and is estimated to be 25 million years old.
38 11.3 SANDY COASTSCAVESThe Cayman Islands are riddled with caves – which in previous years were sometimes used as hurricane shelters. The islands themselves are limestone which is very soft. With time and the incessant waves, the limestone has become eroded in many places forming caves and caverns. The islands have been likened to holey “cheese”. Underwater, there are many dive sites to see these caves, caverns, tunnels, and grottoes such as Eden Rocks and Devil’s Grotto off Grand Cayman. Above land, caves can be seen in Cayman Brac.BLOW HOLES“Blow holes” are holes in the rock formation formed by wave erosion that produce huge spouts of water when waves hit and force water through the hole. They can be seen on the East End of Grand Cayman.
39 11.3 SANDY COASTS 11.3.2 Sandy Coast Life Cayman Island sandy coast life is also rich and diverse. It consists of many animals including:CRUSTACEANSCrabs – hermit crabsShrimpsLobsters – Caribbean spiny lobsters (adults)ECHINODERMSSea starsSea urchinsREPTILESSea turtles – green, loggerhead, hawksbill
40 11.3 SANDY COASTSThe following highlight some of the animals that may be seen on Cayman Islands beaches and are of particular interest.SEA URCHINSea urchins are echinoderms. They are round, spiny and herbivorous invertebrates that graze on algae and detritus from grass beds and rocky areas. Many sea urchins have long, sharp spines on their backs, which protect them from predators such as fish, crabs, moray eels and sea otters. However, their underside is often spineless and they are vulnerable to attack from that side if the predator can turn the sea urchin over.SEA TURTLESea turtles are large air-breathing reptiles with paddle-shaped fore-flippers and a number of other adaptations that make them perfectly at home in the ocean. Today, only seven species remain worldwide – green, loggerhead, hawksbill, flatback, Kemp’s ridley, olive ridley, and leatherback turtle. Although they may live their entire life at sea, sea turtles must return to the land to nest. Under cover of darkness, a female will drag her body across a sandy beach where she will dig a nest and deposit about 100 eggs in the warm sand. After about 60 days of incubation, the eggs will hatch and the hatchlings will make their way back to the sea.
42 11.4 MANGROVES 11.4 MANGROVES 11.4.1 Mangroves Mangrove trees are found in many sub-tropical and tropical areas of the world growing along sheltered coastlines. Mangrove wetlands form an important link between the land and the sea.In the Cayman Islands, three types of mangroves are found in wetlands – red, white and black – each of which has adaptations for tolerating the high level of salt and lack of oxygen that would ordinarily kill other plants. These woody, seed-bearing plants range in size from small shrubs to tall trees.Mangroves have many important functions including providing the basis of the food web upon which the marine creatures feed, acting as a nursery for small fish and juveniles, protecting land from the effects of storms and surges, and filtering the water of sediment resulting in the clear waters surrounding Cayman.
43 11.4 MANGROVESMangroves provide an ideal habitat for birds, fishes and many invertebrate species. For example, Cayman’s parrots nest in black mangrove trees. Fish live amongst the roots of red mangroves, hiding from larger fish and feeding on smaller fish and creatures that also live in the tree roots. Juvenile turtles and lobsters live in the sanctuary offered by the root systems and shallow water areas. Invertebrates, such as the mangrove oyster, crabs, snails and shrimps, also live on the submerged mangrove trees and roots.Mangrove wetlands also have other essential functions. The dense and strong root systems protect against the large waves and storm surges that Cayman can experience during hurricanes and other storms. The roots also help stabilize muddy and soft sediments that would be stirred up by wave activity which would cause shoreline erosion and murky waters devoid of marine life. They dampen wave energy and protect the Cayman coastlines. Mangrove wetlands also absorb vast quantities of fresh water from heavy rains, and release it slowly and harmlessly into the marine environment. This means that by the time rain water reaches the reef, it has been filtered by the mangroves and the sediment stirred up by the storm has settled. Mangrove ecosystems are also very important providers of nutrients that feed into surrounding ecosystems, making them healthier and more productive.
44 11.4 MANGROVES REFERENCES & FURTHER READING Interesting!Mangroves have several adaptations that allow them to survive in an inhospitable environment. Black and white mangroves have special roots that grow vertically above the ground and act like snorkels. These roots allow the tree to absorb oxygen from the air when the ground is covered with salt water and the soil is low on oxygen. Black mangroves also excrete excess salt out through their leaves which can often be seen as salt crystals on the leaves. Red mangroves are the best adapted for living in salt water and can usually be found nearest the sea, often actually growing in the water. The roots of red mangroves resemble stilts and they allow the tree to stand in the water. They reproduce through large seeds called “propagules”, which look like darts, hanging from the ends of their branches. Each propagule is a small plant with roots already growing on it. When a propagule falls from the parent tree, it can grow directly in the muddy sediment or it can float along until the root end weighs it down into the correct position for it to grow.REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Mangroves
45 11.4 MANGROVES 11.4.2 Central Mangrove Wetland Grand Cayman's Central Mangrove Wetland is critical to the ecological health of Grand Cayman. The Wetland is part of a large-scale water flow system that filters and conditions the surface and shallow ground water which flows into North Sound.The Wetland also provides a flow of nutrients into North Sound by constant tidal flushing of the mangrove fringes and by occasional overflows of accumulated rainwater from the whole Central Mangrove basin. These nutrients form the base of a complex food chain from the Turtle Grass and shrimp mounds in Little Sound, through to the snappers and lobsters which move from the mangroves to the reef. North Sound’s entire ecosystem is bound to the Central Mangroves and it would collapse if the Wetland was ever destroyed.West Indian whistling duck, Grand Cayman parrots, snowy egrets and many other native birds depend on the Central Mangrove Wetland for food, shelter and a breeding area. Crustaceans, insects and other invertebrates inhabit the Wetland, along with fish, hickatees, agouti and many other animals. Red, black, white and buttonwood mangroves are found along with dry land trees such as mahogany and wild fig.
46 11.4 MANGROVESThe Wetland covers an area of about 8,500 acres and is almost entirely in its natural state. It is largely covered by a canopy of trees, which absorb sunlight and radiate part of that energy as heat, warming the air near the leaves. This air becomes saturated with water vapour, evaporating from the leaves pores and from the ponds below. Warm saturated air rises above the Central Mangrove Wetland and can form clouds, which are carried west by the prevailing winds to rain on the central and western districts of Grand Cayman. This process is believed to contribute greatly to western Grand Cayman's rainfall, which is 40% higher than the eastern districts. Without the Wetland, George Town and West Bay could be as dry as East End.REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Central Mangrove Wetland
47 11.4 MANGROVES 11.4.3 Mangrove Life Cayman Island mangrove life consists of many plants and animals including:PLANTSRed MangroveBlack mangroveWhite mangroveButtonwood mangroveMahoganyWild figCRUSTACEANSCrabs – hermit crabsShrimpsLobsters – Caribbean spiny lobsters (juveniles)MOLLUSCSMangrove oysterFISHJuvenile reef fishesBonefish
48 11.4 MANGROVESREPTILESCentral American river turtle (Dermatemys mawii) – “hickatee”Sea turtlesBIRDSCayman parrotsWest Indian whistling duckFrigate birdsMAMMALSAgouti
49 11.4 MANGROVESThe following highlight some of the particularly interesting animals that are found in Cayman Islands mangroves:CARIBBEAN SPINY LOBSTERThe Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) gets its name from the sharp spines that adorn its hard outer shell and antennae. Their bodies have 19 segments. The first 13 segments are fused together forming a rounded outer shell or carapace. The head region of the carapace contains the eyes, long whip-like antennae, flexible antennules and jaws. The thorax contains five pairs of spindly legs with the last 6 segments forming the abdomen and tail fan. Caribbean Spiny Lobsters are brown with four cream coloured spots on the dorsal surface of the abdomen and much smaller cream spots scattered over the rest of its body.To avoid capture, lobsters always face their potential predators. In this position they are best able to use their large abdominal muscles and tail fan to rapidly propel them backwards and away from an advancing predator. An additional defence mechanism is their ability to break off an appendage when caught. Once free from a predator's grasp the lobster can flee to safety and, in time, re-grow its missing appendages.
50 11.4 MANGROVES WEST INDIAN WHISTLING DUCK The West Indian Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arborea) is the largest (48-58 cm) and darkest of its genus. It has a long black bill, long head and longish legs. It has a pale foreneck and light brown face. The crown, back, breast and wings are dark brown to black, and the rest of the underside is white with heavy black markings. All plumages are similar, except that juveniles are duller and have a less contrasted belly pattern. The birds are mostly nocturnal and secretive, inhabiting wooded swamps and mangroves, where this duck roosts and feeds on plant food including the fruit of the Royal Palm.The West Indian Whistling Duck is widely scattered throughout the West Indies including a large breeding population in the Bahamas, and smaller numbers in Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and Jamaica. It is largely sedentary, apart from local movements which can be 100 km or more. Nests have been reported in tree cavities, on branches and on the ground under thatch palms and other dense bushes. The usual clutch size is eggs. It habitually perches in trees, which gives rise to its specific name.REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Caribbean Spiny Lobster- West Indian Whistling Duck- West Indian Whistling Duck
52 11.5 LAND11.5 LANDLandThe Cayman Islands are not particularly lush and the land wildlife isn’t as diverse as her coral reefs and mangroves. Nonetheless, several interesting plants and animals are found, some of which are endemic to the Cayman Islands.Mahogany was once plentiful but this has been mostly logged. Poisonous plants species include maiden plum (a weed with rash-causing sap), lady’s hair or cowitch (a vine with fiberglass-like barbs) and the manchineel which produces skin-blistering sap. Other indigenous species are cochineal, which can be eaten or used as a shampoo, and pingwing, whose barbed branches were once used as natural fencing.With nearly 200 native winged species, the islands offer outstanding bird-watching. Examples include parrots, boobies, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, herons and egrets. Some of these can be seen at the National Trust Parrot Reserve on Cayman Brac or the Booby Pond Nature Reserve on Little Cayman. Reptiles include green sea turtles and blue iguanas with many common geckos and lizards. Mammals include several species of bats which live in Cayman Islands caves.
53 11.5 LANDLand WildlifeCayman Islands plants and animals include:PLANTSMahoganyMaiden PlumLady’s Hair (“Cowitch”)ManchineelCochinealPingwingCRUSTACEANSCrabs – hermit crabsREPTILESIguanas – blue iguana, rock iguanaCommon geckos and lizardsBIRDSCayman parrotsBoobies – red-footed boobiesYellow-bellied sapsuckersHeronsEgretsMAMMALSBatsAgoutiInteresting!Periodically, especially after a rain shower, hundreds of hermit crabs may be seen walking across Little Cayman roads. Local residents try to avoid squashing them as they drive or cycle past but the crabs are so numerous it is difficult to do.
54 11.5 LANDThe following highlight some of the particularly interesting land animals that are found in the Cayman Islands:LITTLE CAYMAN ROCK IGUANAThe Little Cayman Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis) is a subspecies of the Cuban Rock Iguana and is found only on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. This large lizard is grey-brown with black markings. It has red eyes and a row of spines which run from the back of the head to the tip of the tail. They are vegetarian and mostly eat fruits, flowers and leaves. The male is larger than the female and has powerful jaw muscles giving it a strong bite. Adults of 1.5 m (5 ft) in length from nose to tail are not uncommon. They are generally not sociable and tend to live alone. When threatened, iguanas turn themselves sideways, draw themselves up as high as possible on their legs and flatten their bodies laterally so that the area they expose to their opponent is as large as possible.Males and females behave differently during the mating season (usually the first two weeks in May). The female selects an area which is suitable for her nest and has enough food to sustain her. In contrast, males roam widely and can cover the territories of many females, ready to mate with each as they come into season. Much of their time is spent fighting and warding off rivals, which means that the largest and strongest of the males mate most frequently. This behaviour continues into late May when females cease to be receptive and the males gradually lose interest.
55 11.5 LANDSix weeks after mating, the female will excavate her nest in a patch of earth and lay eggs. The tunnel leading to the egg chamber is filled in and hidden under leaves, grasses and other debris. The female then guards her nest site for a few more weeks to ensure the safety of her offspring.After an incubation period of about ten weeks, the iguanas start to hatch. At birth they are about 20 cm (8 in) long. The hatchlings wait until all siblings have hatched before exiting the nest using their combined strength to dig their way to the surface. Once out in the open, they quickly scatter into the undergrowth. Each must then fend for itself. The young iguanas are very vulnerable to birds and snakes (their main predators) at this stage, although they grow extremely fast.Most of the problems facing Cayman's iguanas are human related. Both domestic and feral cats and dogs kill iguanas. Coastal nesting habitat is also being taken over for housing development while increasing road traffic also kills several iguanas every year. Ultimately, the people of the Cayman Islands must decide whether they wish to keep the iguana and other vulnerable wildlife around them, and what limitations on development they are willing to accept to make this possible.
56 11.5 LANDPARROTSThe two Cayman Islands' parrots are subspecies of the Cuban Parrot (Amazona leucocephala). Both subspecies are endemic to the Cayman Islands and are found nowhere else in the world. Cayman's parrots have iridescent green feathers with darker edges over the body, a white eye ring, red cheeks, black ear patches and brilliant blue wing feathers which are only visible when the bird is in flight. The tail has blue outer edges, with some red and yellowish green underneath.The Grand Cayman Parrot (Amazona leucocephala caymanensis) has a pink flush to its whitish forehead. The male is slightly larger and more brightly coloured than the female. Juvenile birds have yellowish foreheads, gradually becoming more washed with pink as they mature. The Central Mangrove Wetland's fringe of black mangrove woodland is the single most important breeding habitat for this parrot.The Cayman Brac Parrot (Amazona leucocephala hesterna) is slightly smaller, with more black trim on its green feathers. The crown is pure white, and there is a large maroon area on the abdomen. Although it used to inhabit Little Cayman, it is now found only on Cayman Brac. The Cayman Brac Parrot has the smallest range of any Amazon parrot and is one of the rarest.
57 11.5 LANDCayman’s parrots feed on sea grapes, red birch berries and the flowers, seeds and berries of many other native plants. They are usually seen in pairs or small family groups, and are most active in the early morning or just before sunset. They have a wide range of calls. The Cayman Brac Parrot is quieter, has different calls and is quite secretive.Cayman's parrots mate for life and use the same nesting sites over and over again. They nest in mangrove or dry forest, in hollow trees, laying 1-5 eggs every spring. The eggs hatch after about 24 days. The young remain in the nest for about eight weeks and are able to fly by mid-summer.Parrots face many dangers in the wild. Storms may destroy their food and nesting sites. Human development is destroying many trees, which provide nesting sites and food. There is also a market for young parrots and robbers will sometimes chop down nesting trees to reach the young birds, many of which die soon after capture. Hawks and owls are natural predators but the parrot now also has to contend with rats and cats that have been introduced by humans to the Cayman Islands.REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Cayman Islands Parrots- Bats- Blue Iguana- Giant Iguana Slaughter- Red-Footed Boobies- Little Cayman Rock Iguana
59 11.6 OPEN OCEAN 11.6 OPEN OCEAN 11.6.1 Cayman Sea Sense The ocean provides Cayman Islanders and her visitors with many types of seafood including crustaceans, molluscs, echinoderms, and fish. Some are particularly popular but they may also be threatened both locally and on a world-wide scale.As a result, the Cayman Islands National Trust has implemented a project called “Cayman Sea Sense”. The primary goals of the Cayman Sea Sense initiative are to educate the general public about fisheries and aquaculture issues facing our oceans and raise awareness about the impact that the choices we make have on sustainable fisheries management practices when we purchase seafood products. It also seeks to lessen the impact of the Cayman Islands restaurant industry on the world’s fragile ocean resources.The Cayman Sea Sense project is a sustainable seafood education program. It helps local chefs and restaurant owners reduce the number of non-sustainable seafood items on their menus. The use of a Cayman Sea Sense icon on a menu also allows consumers to choose sustainable seafood options as certified by the Cayman Sea Sense Team.The following lists some of the best choices for sustainable food, some alternatives and some items to avoid (the full list can be obtained from the seafood guide link below)Important!Sustainable seafood is:A species that is abundant and resilient to fishing pressures.A species that is well managed with a comprehensive management plan based on current research.A species that is harvested in a method that ensures limited by-catch on non-target and endangered speciesA species that has a method of catch which ensures there is limited habitat loss associated with the harvesting method
60 11.6 OPEN OCEAN BEST CHOICES GOOD ALTERNATIVES AVOID Clams, Mussels, Oysters (Farmed)Crab: Dungeness, StoneHalibut: PacificHerring: Atlantic/SardinesMackerel: King*, Spanish*Salmon (Alaska, Wild)Striped Bass (Farmed or Wild*)Trout: Rainbow (farmed)Tuna: Albacore (US, BC, T)Tuna: Skipjack (T)* Limit consumption due to concerns about mercury & other contaminants.Clams, Oysters* (Wild)Conch (Farmed)Crab: Blue*, King (Alaska)Lobster: US/MaineMahi mahi: Local/USSnapper: Yellowtail (Local/US)Squid/CalamariSwordfish (US, L)*Turtle: Local (F)Wahoo: Local/US*W=wild F=farmed T=troll/pole caughtBC=BritishColumbia TC=trawl caughtL=longline Imported=outside the USChilean Seabass/Toothfish*Conch: Local, WildCrab: King (Imported), SnowGroupers*Lobster, Spiny (Caribbean)MonkfishSalmon (Farmed, including Atlantic)*Scallops: Sea (Mid-Atlantic)Sharks*Shrimp (Imported, Farmed or Wild)Snapper: (except Yellowtail)Swordfish (imported)*Tuna: Bluefin, Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin (L)*Turtle (W)Whelk: LocalREFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Cayman Sea Sense- Seafood Guide 2008- Sustainable Sea Food- Monterey Bay Seafood Watch
61 11.6 OPEN OCEAN 11.6.2 Cayman Islands Marine Conservation Laws The following summarizes some of the Cayman Islands Marine Conservation Laws pertaining to catching seafood:Lobsters• Closed Season March 1 through November 30• Six inch tail minimum size• Catch limit: 3 per person or 6 per boat per day whichever is less• Only spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) may be takenConch• Closed Season May 1 through October 31• Catch limit: 5 per person or 10 per boat per day whichever is less• No one may purchase or receive more than five conch from Cayman waters per dayWhelks• Open season catch limit – 2½ gallons in the shell or 2½ lbs of processed whelks per person per day• Chitons, Periwinkles and Bleeding Teeth may not be taken from Cayman waters at any time
62 11.6 OPEN OCEAN Echinoderms • Sea stars, sea eggs/urchins, sea cucumbers, sand dollars etc. may not be taken from Cayman waters at any time.Nassau Groupers• Size limit: Twelve inch minimum size limit applies throughout Cayman waters year round.• Exceptions:• Designated Grouper Spawning Areas are protected - no one may take Nassau grouper from any of the Designated Grouper Spawning Areas.• No one may spearfish or set a fish-pot within a one-mile radius of any “Designated Grouper Spawning Area” from 1 November through 31 March.Sea Turtles• No one may disturb, molest or take sea turtles in Cayman waters without permission from the Cayman Marine Conservation Board• Possession of turtle eggs is prohibited• For licensed fishermen, closed season is 1 May through 31 October
63 11.6 OPEN OCEAN 11.6.3 Open Ocean Life Some of the open ocean life around the Cayman Islands includes:FISHBlue marlinWahooAtlantic bluefin tunaMahi mahiThe following highlight some of the particularly interesting animals that are found in the open ocean near the Cayman Islands:
64 11.6 OPEN OCEANBLUE MARLINThe blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) is the largest of the Atlantic marlins and one of the biggest fish in the world. Females, which are significantly larger than males, can reach 4.3 m (14 ft) in length and weigh more than 900 kg (1,985 lb). Females can live up to 27 years in the wild.Native to the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, blue marlins are among the most recognizable of all fish. They are cobalt-blue on top and silvery-white below with a pronounced dorsal fin and a long, lethal spear-shaped upper jaw.They are so-called blue-water fish, spending most of their lives far out at sea. They are also highly migratory and will follow warm ocean currents for thousands of kilometres.Blue marlins prefer the higher temperature of surface waters, feeding on mackerel and tuna, but will also dive deep to eat squid. They are among the fastest fish in the ocean, and use their spears to slash through dense schools, returning to eat stunned and wounded victims.Their meat is considered a delicacy, particularly in Japan, where it is served raw as sashimi. Although not currently endangered, conservationists worry that they are being unsustainably fished, particularly in the Atlantic.Interesting!It is a blue marlin that the old fisherman battles in Ernest Hemingway's classic story “The Old Man and the Sea”.
65 11.6 OPEN OCEAN ATLANTIC BLUEFIN TUNA The Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is one of the largest, fastest and most beautiful of the world’s fishes. Their torpedo-shaped, streamlined bodies are built for speed and endurance. Their colouring (metallic blue on top and shimmering silver-white on the bottom) helps camouflage them from above and below. Their voracious appetite and varied diet pushes their average size to 2 m (6.5 ft) in length and 250 kg (550 lb) although they can reach twice this size.Atlantic bluefins are warm-blooded, a rare trait among fish, and are comfortable in the cold waters off Newfoundland and Iceland, as well as the tropical waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea, where they go each year to spawn. They are among the most ambitiously migratory of all fish, and some tagged specimens have been tracked swimming from North American to European waters several times a year. They can live 15 years in the wild.They are prized among sport fishermen for their fight and speed, shooting through the water with their powerful, crescent-shaped tails up to 70 kph (43 mph). They can retract their dorsal and pectoral fins into slots to reduce drag. Some scientists think the series of “finlets” on their tails may reduce water turbulence.
66 11.6 OPEN OCEANInteresting!We often say that reptiles or fish are cold-blooded and mammals are warm-blooded. However, many scientists try not to use these terms because they are not precise and, in some cases, inaccurate.More precisely, some animals, such as mammals are able to regulate their body temperature above that of the environment’ – these animals are “homeothermic” – which means they are able to keep their body temperature constant. In contrast, animals, such as most reptiles and fish, cannot regulate their body temperature and are called “poikilothermic”. These animals rely on warmth from the sun and the environment to warm them up.While most reptiles and fish cannot regulate their body temperature, there are exceptions. For example, the Leatherback turtle is a reptile that is able to regulate its temperature while the bluefin tuna is a fish that is able to do so.Bluefins attain their enormous size by gorging themselves almost constantly on smaller fish, crustaceans, squid, and eels. They will also filter-feed on zooplankton and other small organisms and have even been observed eating kelp. The largest tuna ever recorded was an Atlantic bluefin caught off Nova Scotia that weighed 679 kg (1,496 lb).Bluefin tuna have been eaten by humans for centuries. In recent years demand and prices for large bluefins soared worldwide, particularly in Japan, and commercial fishing operations found new ways to find and catch these sleek giants. As a result, bluefin stocks, especially of large, breeding-age fish, have plummeted, and international conservation efforts have led to curbs on commercial takes. Nevertheless, at least one group says illegal fishing in Europe has pushed the Atlantic bluefin populations there to the brink of extinction.REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Atlantic Bluefin Tuna- Blue Marlin
68 11.7 DEEP OCEAN 11.7 DEEP OCEAN 11.7.1 Bloody Bay Wall & Cayman Trench While humans have dived and explored many parts of the top 45 m (150 ft) of the Cayman Islands coral reefs, we still do not know a great deal about the deep Cayman reefs.In 2007, however, the U.S. National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began a project called the “Cayman Islands Twilight Zone Expedition” to study deeper parts of Little Cayman’s Bloody Bay wall.Researchers found that while the diversity of reef-building corals decreased with increasing depth, many sponges, soft corals, tunicates, and low-light adapted primary producers were still abundant. Thus, as light becomes limiting in the deep reef, fewer hard (reef-building) corals are able to survive but many species of soft corals and black corals serve the same functional role as habitat and/or food. This may be due to the importance of a coral’s symbiotic algae in reef building and the reduced photosynthesis due to reduced level of sunlight.These deep reef communities were also recognized as important nursery habitats and/or refuges for many species of reef fish and invertebrates. Destruction of these important habitats may therefore increase the degradation of shallow-water reefs while understanding these unusual communities might help the recovery efforts implemented by coral reef managers.Important!The ocean’s Twilight Zone lies between 200m-1,000m (656 ft-3,300 ft) and denotes the region where the sunlight’s penetration is at its limit.In contrast, the NOAA studies were actually carried out at much shallower depths than 200m (656 ft) and are still in the Photic Zone.
69 11.7 DEEP OCEAN CAYMAN TRENCH The Cayman Trench (or Bartlett Trench) is a massive submarine trench located on the floor of the western Caribbean Sea between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.The Cayman Trench extends from the Windward Passage at the southeastern tip of Cuba toward Guatemala. This relatively narrow trough lies approximately from east-northeast to west-southwest. It has a maximum depth of 25,216 ft (7,686 m) and is the deepest point in the Caribbean Sea.REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Cayman Trench Map
70 11.7 DEEP OCEAN 11.7.2 Deep Ocean Life Some of the deep ocean life found in the deep ocean near the Cayman Islands include:MOLLUSCSGiant squidFISHSix-gill sharkThe following highlight some of the particularly interesting animals that are found in the deep ocean:
71 11.7 DEEP OCEANGIANT SQUIDThe giant squid (Architeuthis dux) remains largely a mystery to scientists despite being the biggest invertebrate on Earth. The largest giant squid ever found measured 18 m (59 ft) in length and weighed nearly 900 kg (1,984 lb). Like other squid, they have eight arms and two longer feeding tentacles that bring food to their beak-like mouths. Their diet likely consists of fish, shrimp, and other squid and some suggest they might even attack and eat small whales. They manoeuvre their massive bodies with fins that seem diminutive for their size. They use their funnel as a propulsion system, drawing water into the mantle, or main part of the body, and forcing it out the back. Giant squid (and colossal squid) have the largest eyes in the animal kingdom, measuring some 25 cm (10 in) in diameter. These massive organs allow them to detect objects in the lightless depths where most other animals would see nothing.The deep-sea habitat has made them difficult to study and almost everything known about them is from carcasses that have washed up on beaches or been hauled in by fishermen. Even their range is not completely clear but giant squid carcasses have been found in many of the world's oceans.
72 11.7 DEEP OCEAN SIX-GILL SHARK The six-gill shark (Hexanchus griseus) has, as its name implies, six gill slits and a spiracle. It also has a long caudal (tail) fin and is coffee-coloured to brown or greyish on its back and paler below. The six-gill shark mainly lives in deep water. It is a large shark that can reach 4.9 m (16 ft) in length and weigh 590 kg (1,300 lbs)REFERENCES & FURTHER READING– Giant squid found off Little Cayman
74 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS Traditional industries in the Cayman Islands were heavily dependent upon the ocean and included:1. Fishing2. Turtle hunting3. Shipping and ship-buildingMany of these traditional industries have been supplanted by modern industries which include:1. TourismTourists are attracted to the tropical climate and clear blue water of the Cayman Islands and pursue a variety of water sports and activities including:• Scuba Diving• Snorkeling & Swimming• Beaches• Fishing• Other Water Sports
75 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS The Cayman Islands are renowned for a particular type of scuba diving called wall diving. “Walls” are steep drop-off areas on a reef that are situated close to and, therefore, easily accessible from shore. Beautiful corals and a wide variety of reef inhabitants are found here. This combination makes wall diving very popular with scuba divers and snorkellers. One of the most famous walls in the world in Bloody Bay Wall in Little Cayman. Another type of diving takes place at Stingray City. This shallow stretch of sandy sea floor in Grand Cayman’s North Sound is the meeting place for stingrays that have grown accustomed to a free meal. Swimmers, snorkellers and divers can feed stingrays food such as squid and ballyhoo. The Cayman Islands are also renowned for white sand beaches such as Seven-Mile beach in Grand Cayman. Game fishing is also very popular along with a variety of other water sports.2. Property DevelopmentMany parts of the Cayman Islands are undergoing property development.• Residential development – condominiums, vacation homes• Commercial development – hotels, businesses• Industrial development – factories3. BankingGrand Cayman is the world’s fifth largest financial center and has over 700 banks and other financial institutions.
76 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS Places Of InterestGRAND CAYMAN1. Beaches, Swimming & Snorkelling SitesSome of the most renowned beaches and snorkelling sites include:• Seven Mile Beach• Stingray City/Sandbar – stingrays• Devil’s Grotto – tunnels & tarpons• Wreck Of The Cali – masted schooner2. Dive SitesGrand Cayman has approximately 160 dive sites. Some are teeming with marine fish and life while others are noted for their shipwrecks or their dramatic drop-offs to the deep. Some of the most renowned include:• Orange Canyon• Trinity Caves – narrow passageways and small canyons• Eden Rock Dive Centre• Tarpon Alley – tarpons, hawksbill turtles, barracudas• Eagle Ray Rock• Snapper Hole – tunnels & caverns with snappers & tarpons• Babylon – pinnacle and wallInteresting!In some respects, Seven Mile Beach is the archetypal Caribbean beach with soft white sand, warm waters, and beautiful sunsets. Today, much of its length is occupied by hotels, condominiums and shops, and it can be crowded in spots although there are still many areas which are untouched.
77 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS 3. Boatswain’s Beach (formerly Cayman Turtle Farm)The main functions of the farm are to provide the local market with edible turtle meat, thus preventing the need to hunt turtles in the wild, and to replenish the waters with hatchling and yearling turtles. During Pirates Week (early November), baby turtles are released from the farm into the open ocean. Visitors today can see about 100 circular concrete tanks in which the sea turtles exist in various stages of development. The farm also has sharks, fishes, and birds on display.4. Cayman Islands National MuseumThe Cayman Islands National Museum is located in George Town. It is a museum for the lore, history and memorabilia of the Cayman Islands. The exhibits feature over 2,000 items depicting the natural, social and cultural history of the Cayman Islands. Exhibits focus on some of the hardships suffered by Cayman Islanders prior to tourism and modern-day financial services industries. There is also a three dimensional map depicting a panorama of the undersea mountains and canyons which surround the Cayman Islands and a great interactive presentation of the undersea world of Cayman.Interesting!Although it is found on fewer menus these days, sea turtle still remains the national dish. These days, it is farm-raised and served in soups and stews or as a braised steak.Interesting!The word “boatswain” is pronounced “bo’sun”. A boatswain is a ship’s petty officer that is typically in charge of equipment and the work of the crew.
78 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS 5. Queen Elizabeth II Botanic ParkThis park offers visitors a short walk through wetland, swamp, dry thicket, mahogany-tree stands and patches of orchids and bromeliads. The trail is 1 km (0.67 mile) long. You may see hickatees (freshwater turtles), Grand Cayman parrots or the Grand Cayman blue iguanas.6. Mastic Reserve & Mastic TrailThe Mastic Trail is about 3.2 km (2-mile) long. A wide variety of plants and animals unique to the Cayman Islands live in this area where the woodland has evolved undisturbed for 2 million years. The Mastic Trail passes through a variety of habitats including black mangrove wetland, stands of royal palms and silver thatch palms, abandoned agricultural land and extensive ancient dry forest. Along the trail, walkers can see rare trees such as cedar and mahogany as well as a mastic tree. In June, the wild banana orchid blooms on the trailside. A rich abundance of birds also inhabit these forests, including Cayman's native parrot, the West Indian woodpecker and Caribbean dove. Butterflies, lizards, snakes (not poisonous), frogs, large hermit crabs and the carton nests of termites are a few of the other animals walkers may encounter.
80 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS REFERENCES & FURTHER READING– Boatswain’s Beach- Grand Cayman Attractions- Pedro St. James– Cayman Islands National Museum– Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park- Mastic Trail- Interactive & Searchable Map of Cayman Islands
81 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS CAYMAN BRAC1. Beaches, Swimming & Snorkelling SitesSome of the most renowned beaches and snorkelling sites include:• Southwest Coast• White Bay2. Dive SitesCayman Brac has about 41 dive sites marked with moorings. Some of the most renowned include:• Strawberry Sponge Wall – strawberry vase sponges• Wreck of the Captain Keith Tibbetts – Russian frigate• Anchor Wall – 3 m (10 ft) anchor embedded in mini-wall3. The BluffThe “Bluff” is a towering limestone plateau rising 42 m (138 ft) above sea level, covering the eastern half of Cayman Brac.4. CavesMore than 170 caves honeycomb the limestone heights of the island including Rebecca‘s Cave, Peter’s Cave, Bat Cave and Skull Cave. Some caves are at the Bluff’s foot; others can only be reached by climbing over jagged limestone rock. One of the biggest is “Great Cave” which has a number of chambers. Harmless fruit bats cling to the roofs of the caverns.
82 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS 5. West End Point OverlookAt the far western point of Cayman Brac is the West End Point Overlook. It is ideal for bird-watching and wonderful sunsets.6. Westerly Ponds TrailThe two ponds along this trail near the southwest end of Cayman Brac are ideal for observing the life of wetland fowl. Boardwalks have been cut across some of the marshes which allow small viewing sections.7. Lighthouse TrailThe Lighthouse Trail takes about 3 hours to walk. It starts at Spot Bay in the eastern end of the island. You can follow the trail up the northeast face of the Bluff. En route, you will pass the entrance to Peter’s Cave, which was once used as a hurricane shelter. As you continue along the trail, you will see Peter’s Outlook, which offers a panoramic view of Spot Bay. Two lighthouses can be seen on the trail – one modern and the other from the 1930s.Interesting!A lighthouse is a tower building or some framework that sends out light from a system of lamps and lenses (or, in older times, from a fire). It is an aid for navigation and piloting at sea. Lighthouses also provide coordinate location information for small aircraft travelling at night.
83 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS 8. Cayman Brac Parrot ReservePerhaps the best nature trail on Cayman Brac is the Parrot Reserve in the centre of the island which runs for about 1.6 km (1 mile). You may see the endangered Cayman Brac parrot while on the trail.9. Cayman Brac MuseumThe Cayman Brac Museum is located in Stake Bay. It is a small but interesting museum with a collection of Caymanian antiques including pieces rescued from shipwrecks and objects from the 18th century.
84 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Cayman Brac Parrot Reserve
85 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS LITTLE CAYMAN1. Beaches, Swimming & Snorkelling SitesSome of the most renowned beaches include:• Point of Sand• Owen Island• Bloody Bay Wall• Jackson Bight2. Dive SitesLittle Cayman has about 57 dive sites marked with moorings. Some of the most renowned include:• Mixing Bowl3. Booby Pond Nature ReserveThe Booby Pond is a 1.9 km (1.5 miles) long, brackish mangrove pond that is home to the Cayman Islands’ only breeding colony of magnificent frigate birds. In addition, the red-footed boobies that live in the pond are the Caribbean’s largest booby breeding colony.4. Little Cayman Research CentreThe Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC) is a marine research station managed by the Central Caribbean Marine Institute. School children and others groups are welcome to visit and see some of the work carried out by marine scientists through prior appointment with the LCRC Station Manager.Interesting!On Little Cayman, iguanas have right of way.Interesting!Owen Island is found just off the shore of Little Cayman (180 m or 590 ft.) and is easily accessible by ocean kayak, rowboat or a strong swimmer. These 4.4 hectares (11 acres) boast a white-sand beach and a blue lagoon and is wonderful for swimming or snorkelling.Interesting!The Booby Pond on Little Cayman is home to some 7,000 birds of different types, including black-necked stilts, West Indian whistling ducks, egrets, herons, boobies and magnificent frigate birds.
86 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Booby Pond Nature Reserve– Central Caribbean Marine Institute/Little Cayman Research Centre
87 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS ThreatsThe Cayman Islands are vulnerable to a variety of threats from both natural and human causes as follows:NATURAL THREATS(1) SmallThe Cayman Islands are relatively small and quite vulnerable as a result. For example, even a relatively small oil spill or similar ecological disaster, could completely destroy one or all of the islands. As a result, it is absolutely imperative that there is great protection of each island through legislation and careful planning.(2) HurricanesWhile the ocean is perhaps the greatest providers of natural resources to the Cayman Islands, it can also be a destructive force. For example, hurricanes, which are formed in the ocean, are a continued annual hazard to the Cayman Islands.(3) Low-LyingThe Cayman Islands are low-lying and parts of it can be severely flooded during storms and hurricanes.Interesting!In September 2004 Hurricane Ivan pounded Grand Cayman island with winds of up to 322 kph (200 mph). A national disaster was declared. After it, the offshore finance industry was able to quickly resumed operations but the rebuilding of homes and other buildings – 70% of which were damaged – took much longer.
88 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS (4) Limited FreshwaterOne serious concern is that there are no natural fresh water resources. Thus, drinking water supplies must be met by rainwater catchments. As a result, it is sometimes necessary to ration or very carefully monitor water consumption in the Cayman Islands.HUMAN THREATSHumans pose many threats to the Cayman Islands mangroves and coral reefs:(1) Mangroves/WetlandsIn the Cayman Islands, the major problem affecting mangrove habitats is humanity's desire to convert mangrove areas into residential, commercial or industrial developments. Over the last 25 to 30 years, rapid growth of Cayman's population and tourism industry have resulted in a substantial amount of land development, particularly on Grand Cayman. One of the major problems is the destruction of mangrove swamps to accommodate canal and waterfront real estate.Interesting!Grand Cayman's Central Mangrove Wetland is so critical to numerous natural ecological processes that the Cayman Islands National Trust considers the Wetland’s long term protection to be one of the fundamental requirements for the well-being of future generations in the Cayman Islands.
89 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS (2) Coral ReefsCorals are susceptible to human activities including:(a) FishingFishing has both direct and indirect effects on coral reefs. Modern fishing practices have overtaxed the reef environment to the point where many species of fish can no longer sustain their populations. In some cases, it is the removal of a fish that causes harm. For example, parrotfish play an important role in algae grazing. When parrotfish are removed, corals can be overwhelmed by algal growth. This is an indirect cause of coral mortality. In other cases, it is the technique used for fishing that is physically or chemically destructive to the coral, such as the use dynamite or cyanide which kills fish and destroys reefs. These techniques are direct causes of coral mortality.(b) AnchorsWhen boat anchors are used correctly, they may not harm anything. However, all too often, people drop anchors directly on top of reef structures. This can break off pieces of coral and destroy the thin layer of live tissue on the coral heads. Other invertebrates are also vulnerable to anchor damage. At one dive site, an area the size of five tennis courts was destroyed by the anchoring of a cruise ship. The area in George Town Harbour where cruise ships normally anchor is now almost entirely bare rock. Even small boat anchors are dangerous. While they individually may cause less damage, there are also more of them, so the overall damage mounts up.
90 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS (c) Pollution"Pollution" can mean many different things but essentially it is the negative effect from by-products of human civilization that change the natural environment. Pollution can take almost any form and there are many forms that affect coral reefs including sewage, runoff, warm water, fresh water, plastics, and noise.(d) DiseaseCoral diseases have increasingly become a problem over the last twenty years or so. Both the number of corals that are infected by disease and the number of different types of diseases are increasing. We know almost nothing about what causes diseases in coral. For example, it is unclear where the diseases came from or how they evolved. In most cases, a large number of different organisms can be found in the infected area. It is difficult to determine whether these organisms are the cause of the infection or just taking advantage of the weakened coral. However, it is believed that human effects may have made corals more susceptible to infection.Interesting!The porous limestone substrate enables fluids to be transported quickly from land to sea. Chemicals, pesticides, sewage, waste, and water flows almost directly into the sea and can potentially kill otherwise healthy corals and reef organisms.
91 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS (e) Increasing Carbon Dioxide Levels & TemperaturesIncreasing carbon dioxide levels and slightly warmer temperatures are affecting coral reefs worldwide. Coral reefs are temperature sensitive and even a small rise in water temperature can lead to bleaching. Bleaching is not always fatal but, when the temperature is consistently higher, the coral may bleach repeatedly. Each time a coral bleaches, it has a greater chance of dying and it may lose more and more tissue. This problem is compounded with the already-stressed coral's higher susceptibility to disease. The increased carbon dioxide level has another possible negative effect on coral reefs. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide causes an increase in dissolved carbon dioxide in the ocean. This change in the chemical makeup of seawater is thought to hinder a coral's ability to build its skeleton. It is possible that many reefs are no longer growing. Reefs are subject to erosion and without healthy coral growth there is nothing to counter this attrition.(f) DredgingDredging, or the removal of silt from the ocean bottom, is a common practice used to keep channels open for boats. One common type of dredge is a suction dredge in which a boat acts like a giant vacuum cleaner removing silt from the channel bottom as it travels over a chosen area.
92 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS In many places, channels must be dredged regularly otherwise they will fill with silt making the waterway impassable. This repeated dredging increases the water’s turbidity (the amount of silt suspended in the water). The silt that is stirred up by the dredging process will eventually settle again possibly on a coral reef. However, corals need clean, clear waters to survive. If a coral is covered with silt, it has to remove it. It must use its tentacles to pass the particles to the edge of the coral head. This takes extra energy and stresses the coral. Thus, corals in turbid waters are more susceptible to disease and bleaching.An additional negative effect of dredging is the loss of sea grass beds. Sea grass beds hold sediment in place, which keeps the water clean and clear. When a channel is dredged through a sea grass bed, sediment is disturbed and loose sediment is left behind. Without the sea grass to hold it in place, the sediment can be churned up by boats and stormy weather, again increasing the water's turbidity and the likelihood of disease and bleaching in corals.REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Central Mangrove Wetland
93 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS ConservationThe following outlines some of the measures that are being taken to protect the natural environment of the Cayman Islands:(a) Mangroves/WetlandsThe implementation of the Marine Parks system has afforded some of Cayman's mangroves limited protection from the onslaught of development. However, currently, the only forms of protection offered to the mangroves themselves are the designated mangrove buffer zones, National Trust ownership and some Animal Sanctuaries.Approximately 1,500 acres of the Central Mangrove Wetland is protected through the Marine Parks Law, forming part of the Environmental Zone which has been in effect for Little Sound and its fringing mangroves since Efforts are now underway to increase the area of the Wetland under protection, through conservation land purchase.
94 11.8 HUMANS AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS (b) Coral ReefsIn order to protect the reefs, many of the areas around Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are protected as marine parks (e.g. Bloody Bay Marine Park in Little Cayman).In spite of this, however, the reefs are not completely safe. Some threats, such as pollution, may occur a significant distance from the marine park and still pose a threat.REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Central Mangrove Wetland
96 11.9 ACTIVITIES 11.9 ACTIVITIES 11.9.1 Cayman Islands CORE ACTIVITY (a) What do the three stars on the Cayman Islands coat of arms represent?(b) What types of natural ocean resources are found in the Cayman Islands?(c) What highly precious naturally resource is lacking in the Cayman Islands?
97 11.9 ACTIVITIESANSWERS(a) What do the three stars on the Cayman Islands coat of arms represent?The three stars represent the three Cayman Islands – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman(b) What types of natural ocean resources are found in the Cayman Islands?• Coral reefs• Sandy coasts – white sand beaches, cliffs & caves• Mangroves• Sea Food – fish, crustaceans and molluscs(c) What highly precious naturally resource is lacking in the Cayman Islands?There is limited freshwater. One serious concern is that there are no natural fresh water resources. Thus, drinking water supplies must be met by rainwater catchments. As a result, it is sometimes necessary to ration or very carefully monitor water consumption in the Cayman Islands.
98 11.9 ACTIVITIES 11.9.2 Coral Reefs – Stingray City EXTENDED ACTIVITY (a) Organize a class field excursion to visit Stingray City and snorkel or swim there(b) While there, ensure that the students obtain the following information:• A description and drawing of a stingray• Species of stingray found in Stingray City• Find out where “sting” on a stingray is located• Find out where a stingray’s eyes, mouth and gill slits are located• What food did the student feed the stingrays?(c) Write a short report on what the each student saw and did. Topics should include the information gathered while they were on the field trip. In addition, they should discuss the following:• Discuss any negative consequences of allowing people to interact with wildlife in this way
99 11.9 ACTIVITIES 11.9.3 Sandy Coasts – Sea Turtles EXTENDED ACTIVITY (a) Organize a class excursion to visit Boatswain’s Beach. Contact Boatswain’s Beach to organize details and obtain prices.(b) While there, ensure that the students obtain the following information:• A description and drawing of a sea turtle• Species of sea turtles found at Boatswain’s Beach• Species of sea turtle in the world today(c) Write a short report on what the each student saw and did. Topics should include the information gathered while they were on the field trip. In addition, they should discuss the following:• Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of Boatswain’s BeachREFERENCES & FURTHER READINGImportant!Teachers – please be advised that Boatswain’s Beach (formerly Cayman Turtle Farm) may be a sensitive topic. Boatswain’s Beach is a commercial venture that farms sea turtles for human consumption as well as for a variety of turtle products (e.g. shells, jewelry, etc). While the consumption and use of sea turtles have long been part of Cayman tradition, it is also true that sea turtles worldwide are endangered and people are moving away from these traditions. Many practices at Boatswain’s Beach are not supported internationally. For example, tourists that purchase turtle products cannot import them into the United States – the products will be confiscated and thus it is a waste. On the other hand, Boatswain’s Beach does release sea turtles into the wild and provides an opportunity to learn more about turtles.
100 11.9 ACTIVITIES 11.9.4 Mangroves ACTIVITY (a) Organize a class excursion to visit the mangroves. Contact the Cayman Islands National Trust to organize the details and to obtain prices.(b) While there, ensure that the students obtain the following information:• A description and drawing of the mangroves and mangrove plants• What kinds of mangrove plants are there• What adaptations do the mangrove plants have• What animals are found in the mangroves – e.g. fish, reptiles, birds, mammals(c) Write a short report on what the each student saw and did. Topics should include the information gathered while they were on the field trip. In addition, they should discuss the following:• Why are the mangroves important?• What threats are the Cayman mangroves under?REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Education programs- Mastic Trail
101 11.9 ACTIVITIES 11.9.5 Land EXTENDED ACTIVITY (a) Organize a class excursion to visit either (i) Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Garden, or the (ii) Mastic Reserve/Trail. Contact the Cayman Islands National Trust to organize the details and to obtain prices.(b) While there, ensure that the students obtain the following information:• A description and drawing of some of the plants and animals• What plants are found?• What animals are found – e.g. reptiles, birds, mammals(c) Write a short report on what the each student saw and did. Topics should include the information gathered while they were on the field trip.
102 11.9 ACTIVITIES 11.9.6 Open Ocean CORE ACTIVITY (a) What is sustainable seafood?
103 11.9 ACTIVITIES(b) Check off the following items sea food that you have eaten:Clams, Mussels, Oysters (Farmed)Crab: Dungeness, StoneHalibut: PacificHerring: Atlantic/SardinesMackerel: King*, Spanish*Salmon (Alaska, Wild)Striped Bass (Farmed or Wild*)Trout: Rainbow (farmed)Tuna: Albacore (US, BC, T)Tuna: Skipjack (T)Clams, Oysters* (Wild)Conch (Farmed)Crab: Blue*, King (Alaska)Lobster: US/MaineMahi mahi: Local/USSnapper: Yellowtail (Local/US)Squid/CalamariSwordfish (US, L)*Turtle: Local (F)Wahoo: Local/US*Chilean Seabass/Toothfish*Conch: Local, WildCrab: King (Imported), SnowGroupers*Lobster, Spiny (Caribbean)MonkfishSalmon (Farmed, including Atlantic)*Sharks*Shrimp (Imported, Farmed or Wild)Snapper: (except Yellowtail)Swordfish (imported)*Tuna: Bluefin, Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin (L)*Turtle (W)Whelk: LocalLimit consumption due to concerns about mercury & other contaminants.W=wild F=farmed T=troll/pole caught BC=British Columbia TC=trawl caught L=longline Imported=outside the US
104 11.9 ACTIVITIES(c) Obtain a copy of the Cayman Sea Sense Seafood Guide (see link below). Which of the previous food items are “best choices”, “good alternatives” or “to be avoided”?BEST CHOICESGOOD ALTERNATIVESAVOID(d) What sea food are you eating that you could avoid?REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Seafood Guide 2008
105 11.9 ACTIVITIES ANSWERS What is sustainable seafood? A sustainable seafood species is:abundant and resilient to fishing pressureswell managed with a comprehensive management plan based on current researchharvested in a method that ensures limited by-catch on non-target and endangered speciesthat has a method of catch which ensures there is limited habitat loss associated with the harvesting method
106 11.9 ACTIVITIES(b) Check off the following items sea food that you have eaten:Clams, Mussels, Oysters (Farmed)Crab: Dungeness, StoneHalibut: PacificHerring: Atlantic/SardinesMackerel: King*, Spanish*Salmon (Alaska, Wild)Striped Bass (Farmed or Wild*)Trout: Rainbow (farmed)Tuna: Albacore (US, BC, T)Tuna: Skipjack (T)Clams, Oysters* (Wild)Conch (Farmed)Crab: Blue*, King (Alaska)Lobster: US/MaineMahi mahi: Local/USSnapper: Yellowtail (Local/US)Squid/CalamariSwordfish (US, L)*Turtle: Local (F)Wahoo: Local/US*Chilean Seabass/Toothfish*Conch: Local, WildCrab: King (Imported), SnowGroupers*Lobster, Spiny (Caribbean)MonkfishSalmon (Farmed, including Atlantic)*Sharks*Shrimp (Imported, Farmed or Wild)Snapper: (except Yellowtail)Swordfish (imported)*Tuna: Bluefin, Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin (L)*Turtle (W)Whelk: LocalLimit consumption due to concerns about mercury & other contaminants.W=wild F=farmed T=troll/pole caught BC=British Columbia TC=trawl caught L=longline Imported=outside the US
107 11.9 ACTIVITIES(c) Obtain a copy of the Cayman Sea Sense Seafood Guide (see link below). Which of the previous food items are “best choices”, “good alternatives” or “to be avoided”?BEST CHOICESGOOD ALTERNATIVESAVOIDClams, Mussels, Oysters (Farmed)Crab: Dungeness, StoneHalibut: PacificHerring: Atlantic/SardinesMackerel: King*, Spanish*Salmon (Alaska, Wild)Striped Bass (Farmed or Wild*)Trout: Rainbow (farmed)Tuna: Albacore (US, BC, T)Tuna: Skipjack (T)* Limit consumption due to concerns about mercury & other contaminants.Clams, Oysters* (Wild)Conch (Farmed)Crab: Blue*, King (Alaska)Lobster: US/MaineMahi mahi: Local/USSnapper: Yellowtail (Local/US)Squid/CalamariSwordfish (US, L)*Turtle: Local (F)Wahoo: Local/US*W=wild F=farmed T=troll/pole caughtBC=BritishColumbia TC=trawl caughtL=longline Imported=outside the USChilean Seabass/Toothfish*Conch: Local, WildCrab: King (Imported), SnowGroupers*Lobster, Spiny (Caribbean)MonkfishSalmon (Farmed, including Atlantic)*Scallops: Sea (Mid-Atlantic)Sharks*Shrimp (Imported, Farmed or Wild)Snapper: (except Yellowtail)Swordfish (imported)*Tuna: Bluefin, Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin (L)*Turtle (W)Whelk: Local
108 11.9 ACTIVITIES (d) What sea food are you eating that you could avoid? N/AREFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Seafood Guide 2008
109 11.9 ACTIVITIES 11.9.7 Deep Ocean EXTENDED ACTIVITY (a) Organize a class excursion to the Cayman Islands National Museum. The Natural History Exhibit begins with a dramatic 3-D map depicting a panorama of the undersea mountains and canyons which surround the Cayman Islands. Then students can take a short walk through a microcosm of Cayman's natural habitats. There are marvelous displays of corals and limestone rocks which form these islands. Cayman’s undersea world comes to life through an interactive laser-disk presentation that makes it seem like you are looking through a submarine porthole.(b) While there, ensure that the students obtain the following information:• What animals are found in the deep sea – e.g. fish, crustaceans, echinoderms, molluscs• What are some adaptations deep sea creatures have?• At what depths are these deep sea creatures found?• What is the maximum depth of the Cayman Wall? Cayman Trench? The ocean?(c) Write a short report on what the each student saw and did. Topics should include the information gathered while they were on the field trip.REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Cayman Islands National Museum
110 11.9 ACTIVITIES 11.9.8 Places Of Interest CORE ACTIVITY (a) Find on a local map the following places and label the picture with them:Grand Cayman• QE II Botanic Park• East End• Bodden Town• North Side• Rum Point• Pedro Castle• North Sound• Stingray City/Sandbar• Tarpon Alley• Boatswain’s Beach• Hell• George Town
111 11.9 ACTIVITIES Cayman Brac • Spot Bay • Northeast Point • Stake Bay Point• Cedar Point• Beach Point• Stake Bay• West End Point
112 11.9 ACTIVITIES Little Cayman • Bloody Bay Point • West End Point • Jackson’s Point• Owen Island• Blossom Village• Snipe Point• East Point• Point of Sand(b) Have each student select one favorite place and write a report about it. The student should discuss what is there and explain why he/she likes the place so much.REFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Interactive & Searchable Map of Cayman Islands
113 11.9 ACTIVITIESANSWERS(a) Find on a local map the following places and label the picture with them:Grand Cayman• QE II Botanic Park• East End• Bodden Town• North Side• Rum Point• Pedro Castle• North Sound• Stingray City/Sandbar• Tarpon Alley• Boatswain’s Beach• Hell• George Town
114 11.9 ACTIVITIES Cayman Brac • Spot Bay • Northeast Point • Stake Bay Point• Cedar Point• Beach Point• Stake Bay• West End Point
115 11.9 ACTIVITIES Little Cayman • Bloody Bay Point • West End Point • Jackson’s Point• Owen Island• Blossom Village• Snipe Point• East Point• Point of Sand(b) Have each student select one favorite place and write a report about it. The student should discuss what is there and explain why he/she likes the place so much.N/AREFERENCES & FURTHER READING- Interactive & Searchable Map of Cayman Islands
116 11.9 ACTIVITIES 11.9.9 Threats CORE ACTIVITY (a) What types of natural threats are there to the Cayman Islands?(b) What types of human threats are there to the Cayman Island mangroves?(c) What types of human threats are there to the Cayman Island reefs?
117 11.9 ACTIVITIESANSWERS(a) What types of natural threats are there to the Cayman Islands?(1) Small(2) Hurricanes(3) Low-Lying(4) Limited Freshwater(b) What types of human threats are there to the Cayman Island mangroves?In the Cayman Islands, the major problem affecting mangrove habitats is humanity's desire to convert mangrove areas into residential, commercial or industrial developments.(c) What types of human threats are there to the Cayman Island reefs?(1) Fishing(2) Anchors(3) Pollution(4) Disease(5) Increasing Carbon Dioxide Levels & Temperatures(6) Dredging