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Summary of Cayman Islands Marine Conservation Laws
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Healthy Coral Reef

Protection of certain species:

Lobsters

Lobster

- Closed season March 1 through November 30
- Six inch tail minimum size
- Catch limit: three per person or six per boat per day, whichever is less
- Only spiny lobster (P. argus) may be taken

Conch

Conch

- Closed Season - May 1 through October 31
- Catch limit: five per person or ten per boat per day, whichever is less
- No one may purchase or receive more than five conch from Cayman waters per day.

Whelks

Whelk

Closed Season - May 1 - October 31
Open Season catch limit - 2 1/2 gallons in the shell or 2 1/2 lbs of processed whelks per person per day.
- No one may purchase or receive more than 2 1/2 gallons in the shell or 2 1/1 lbs of processed whelks from Cayman waters in any one day.
- Chitons, Periwinkles and Bleeding Teeth may not be taken from Cayman waters at any time.

Echinoderms

Echinoderm

Echinoderms (includes Starfish, Sea Eggs/Urchins, Sea Cucumber, Sand Dollars etc) may not be taken from Cayman waters at any time.

Turtles

Turtle

- No one may disturb, molest or take turtle in Cayman waters without a licence from the Cayman Marine Conservation Board
- Possession of turtle eggs is prohibited
- For licensed fishermen, closed season is 1 May through 31 October

Sharks
Shark
No one may feed, attempt to feed, or provide or use food to attract any shark in Cayman waters

Nassau Groupers

Diver with a grouper

- Closed season January 1 through December 31 2003 and every alternate year thereafter (ie 2005, 2007, 2009, etc)
- Designated grouper spawning areas are protected.
- Open Season Catch limit (2004, 2006, 2008 etc) 12 grouper per person or per boat per day, applies in these areas
- During Open Season only line fishing is permitted in these areas by Caymanians.
- Size limit - 12 inch minimum size limit applies throughout Cayman waters year round.

Other Fish

Grouper

- Protected - Jew Fish, Tilefish (whities), Filefish (pipers) and Angelfish, including Gray, French and Queen Angels (old monks) may not be taken from Cayman waters at any time.
 
Size limits: Eight inch minimum size on all other fish except Goggle Eyes, Herrings (including Sprats), Anchovies and Silversides (including Loggerhead and Fine Fry).
 
FISH POTS
  • Must be lincensed by the Marine Conservation Board
  • Only Caymanians over 18 may be granted licences
  • Only two pots per family and pots must be identified with a DOE tag.
  • No fish pot may be set within a one-mile radius of any Designated Grouper Spawning Area from November 1 to March 31.

SPEAR GUNS & SEINE NETS

  • No one may use a spear gun (includes Hawaiian Sling, Polespear, Harpoon, Hookstick or any device with a pointed end whcih may be used to impale, stab or pierce any marine life but does not include a striker) or Seine Net without a licence from the Marine Conservation Board.  NOTE:  A Striker is defined as a wooden pole no shorter than ten feet with a maximum of two barb-less prongs attached to one end.
  • No one may possess a speargun without a licence.
  • No one may import a speargun or any parts for a speargun.
  • Only Caymanians over 18 may be granted a licence.
  • Speargun catch limit 3 fish per licensed person per day.
  • No one may possess more than 6 fish that have been caught by a speargun.
  • No one may spear fish within a one mile radius of any designated grouper spawning area from November 1 through 31 March.

FISHING LICENSES

  • Unless licensed by the Marine Conservation Board, residents who do not possess Caymanian status may not take or attempt to take by any means any marine life while he is on shore or in any part of Cayman waters in which he can stand.
  • No licence is required for catch and release fishing.

 

 

General rules

- Damaging coral by anchor, chains or any other means ANYWHERE in Cayman waters is prohibited
- No taking of ANY marine life while on scuba
- No taking of any coral, sponges, etc. from Cayman waters
-Wearing gloves while diving or snorkelling in Cayman waters is prohibited 
- Export of live fish or other marine life is prohibited
- Fishing with gill nets, poison or other noxious substances is prohibited
- Dumping ANYTHING in Cayman waters is prohibited
- The export of conch shells and/or black coral requires a CITES permit issued through the DOE.
 
PENALTIES
 
Violation of any of these laws is an offence carrying a maximum penalty of CI$500,000 fine and one year in jail.  Upon conviction forfeiture of the vessel or other equipment may also be ordered.
 
Call for further informaton Department of Environment, 580 North Sound Way, Grand Cayman.  Phone 949-8469  Fax 949-4020; Cayman Brac Phone 926-0136, Little Cayman Phone 926-0135;  VHF Channel 17.
 
Report offences to VHF 17, 948-6002, or 911.  Report Oil Spills or other Marine Pollution to the DOE 949-8469 or 911.  Website: www.gov.ky/doe 
Email:  doe@gov.ky

Grouper