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Conservation Laws

SUMMARY OF CAYMAN ISLANDS MARINE CONSERVATION LAWS

 
LOBSTERS
  • Closed season: 1 March through 30 November. No one may take lobster from Cayman waters during these months. No one may purchase, receive or possess lobster taken from Cayman waters during these months.
  • Open season catch limit: Three per person or six per boat per day, whichever is less.
  • Size limit: Six inch tail minimum size.
  • Only spiny lobster (P. argus) may be taken.
 
CONCH
  • Closed season: 1 May through 31 October. No one may take conch from Cayman waters during these months. No one may purchase, receive or possess conch taken from Cayman waters during these months.
  • Open season 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 in any one day.
 
WHELKS
  • Closed season: 1 May through 31 October. No one may take whelk from Cayman waters during these months. No one may purchase, receive or possess whelk taken from Cayman waters during these months.
  • Open season catch limit: Two-and-a-half gallons in the shell or two-and-a-half pounds of processed whelks per person per day.
  • No one may purchase or receive more than two-and-a-half gallons in the shell or two-and-a-half pounds 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
  • Echinoderms (includes starfish, sea eggs/urchins, sea cucumber and sand dollars) may Cayman waters at any time.
 
TURTLES
  • No one may disturb, molest or take turtles in Cayman waters without a licence from the Marine Conservation Board.
  • Possession of turtle eggs is prohibited.
  • For licensed fishermen, closed season runs from 1 April through 30 November.
 
SHARKS
  • No one may feed, attempt to feed or provide or use food to attract any shark in Cayman waters.
  • Possession of turtle eggs is prohibited.
  • For licensed fishermen, closed season runs from 1 April through 30 November.
 
NASSAU GROUPERS
  • Size limit: Twelve inch minimum size limit applies throughout Cayman waters year round EXCEPT:
  • Designated Grouper Spawning Areas are protected.
  • No one may take Nassau grouper from any of the Designated Grouper Spawning Areas from 1 November through 31 March.
  • 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.
  • No one may use a speargun to take Nassau Grouper.
 
OTHER FISH
  • Protected fish: Jew fish (goliath grouper), tilefish (whities), filefish (pipers) and angelfish, including Grey, French and Queen angels (old monks), may not be taken from Cayman waters at any time.
  • Size limit: 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 licensed 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 one–mile radius of any Designated Grouper Spawning Area 1 from November through 31 March.
 
SPEAR GUNS & SEINE NETS
  • No one may use a speargun (includes Hawaiian sling, polespear, harpoon, hookstick or any device with a pointed end which 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, at least 10ft long, with a maximum of 2 barb-less prongs attached to one end.
  • No one may possess a speargun without a licen
  • No one may import a speargun or any parts for a speargun.
  • Only Caymanians over 18 may be granted licences.
  • Speargun catch limit: Three fish per licensed person per day.
  • No one may use a speargun in water less than 20ft deep.
  • No one may possess more than six fish that have been caught by a speargun.
  • No one may spearfish within a one–mile radius of any Designated Grouper Spawning Area from 1 November through 31 March.
  • Licence holders must carry licence when using seine net or spear fishing and adhere to licence conditions.
  • No one may use a speargun to take Nassau Grouper.
 
GENERAL RULES
  • Damaging coral by anchor, chains or any other means ANYWHERE in Cayman waters is prohibited.
  • No taking of ANY marine life alive or dead 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 more than three conch shells and or any 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 Cl$500,000 fine and one year in jail. Upon conviction, forfeiture of the vessel or other equipment may also be ordered.
 

CONTACT INFORMATION

 
For additional information contact the
Department of Environment
 
 
580 North Sound Road, Grand Cayman
Phone: 949-8469
Fax: 949-4020
EMAIL: doe@gov.ky
Web: www.DoE.ky
Report Offences to:
 
Grand Cayman : 949-8469 or 916-4271
Cayman Brac : 926-0136
Little Cayman : 916-7021 or 926-2342
VHF : Channel 10 Or 911
If you see a marine turtle nest call
the Turtle Hotline: 938-NEST / 938-6378
 
Report oil spills or other marine
pollution to the DOE 949-8469 or 911