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Don’t Trash Coral Reefs for the Cruise Industry!

The Caribbean: the name conjures up images of pristine white beaches, crystal-clear water and breathtaking coral reefs. The Cayman Islands are a first-rate destination for scuba divers – most would agree that the name “Eden Rock” is quite fitting for the territory’s most famous reef.

Yet the local government seems oblivious to the ecological treasure just off its coast: it wants to ramp up mass tourism by dredging the reef and building a new port for mega cruise ships.

Up to eight cruise ships at a time can anchor outside the port, and visitors are ferried to George Town by tender vessels. Lately, however, cruise operators have been threatening to only call at ports that can accommodate their mega ships – vast floating resorts with thousands of passengers. Apparently worried about a loss in revenue from mass tourism, the local government is ready to bow to the will of the corporations.

To sweeten the deal, cruise operators have made financial commitments to help cover the costs of the project. The ecological damage to the Cayman Islands? Not their problem.

The port project would destroy twelve hectares of coral reef and other seabed. The coral reef that has grown and thrived since time immemorial – one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet – would be replaced by concrete.

And what’s gone, is gone forever – marine biologists warn that resettling complex reef ecosystems, as has been suggested by proponents of the project, is a pipe dream: It would be tantamount to moving a mountain – a highly fragile, living mountain.

Local activists opposing the project need a robust show of international support. Please sign our petition and send the Cayman Islands government and the involved cruise lines a message:

 

Don’t trash the Caribbean marine environment for short-term profit!

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