Normally all coral in Cayman is completely protected and should never be touched! However, in 2016, four dive operators in Grand Cayman (Cayman Eco Divers, Divetech, Ocean Frontiers and Sunset House), plus the Brac SCUBA Shack and CCMI on Little Cayman, have obtained permits from the Department of Environment and have been growing staghorn coral in small nurseries.
This work has led to clippings from these nursery corals being planted back out on the reef. Over time they have grown and begun to reproduce more coral themselves. This has also been dependant on the health conditions of Cayman’s reefs. However, this labour intensive programme is only effective for a few types of coral. The best thing we can all do for Cayman’s reefs is not to hurt them in the first place.
When boating, do not anchor in coral; when diving or snorkelling, be careful never to touch the reef and when fishing, obey the Marine Park rules, since a healthy fish population is important for a healthy coral reef. Perhaps the biggest threats to coral reefs are overfishing, pollution and climate change, therefore efforts to become sustainable are also important.
Anything that individuals or businesses can do to reduce their environmental impact will help Cayman’s coral reefs along with the rest of the planet.
Dive operators that have been growing coral include:
- Cayman EcoDivers
- Ocean Frontiers
- Sunset House
- The Brac SCUBA Shack
- Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI)