A great deal of Little Cayman is dedicated as Marine Park, Environmental Zone, Replenishment Zone or Animal Sanctuary. This restricts environmental impact and helps ensure that Little Cayman ‘s treasures will be in pristine condition for generations of visitors to enjoy.
The Reef Environmental Education Foundation
Protecting Marine Life Through Education, Service, and Research
Little Cayman Beach Resort is proud to be a REEF Field Station, serving as an active center of outreach and education involved in the protection of the Nassau Grouper and marine turtles.
REEF is involved in a variety of scientific projects in collaboration with other organizations and partners. The Grouper Moon Project was launched in 2002 to observe the Nassau Grouper spawning aggregation and to develop a protocol for monitoring their numbers and activity on Little Cayman.
From removing grouper from their menu to donating Nitrox to the research divers, Little Cayman Beach Resort is doing everything in its power to help the government and conservation scientists save the seriously endangered Nassau grouper and like species.
We encourage our guests to aid in REEF fish-count surveys, which will be a huge help to conservation groups and scientists. After an introduction to local species, divers armed with slates record all the different species of fish that they see, especially groupers gathering on the reef prior to spawning.
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LITTLE CAYMAN RESEARCH CENTER
The Little Cayman Research Center (LCRC) is a field education and research station. It has labs, a classroom, and dormitory-style or private-room living accommodations to support researchers and students. It may be booked by groups or individual researchers and scientists for reef research.
The coral reefs of Little Cayman are arguably the best in the Caribbean for research due to the fact that they are isolated from continental and anthropogenic influences and support a biologically diverse and robust community. The island is largely undeveloped with only 150 permanent residents. Little Cayman has no run-off or point-source pollution problems and no problem with over-fishing. The economy and government are stable making Little Cayman very attractive for scientists and students alike.
The Marine Turtle Research Group and Cayman Islands Department of the Environment are currently researching the three species of marine turtles that are reproductively active in the Cayman Islands : the green, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles.
From May to November, Resort staff and island residents who have been trained to assist with m onitoring surveys, search for signs of marine turtle nesting. The locations of nest sites are then reported to the DOE Research Officer for data collection and further monitoring to protect the hatchlings.
The CIDOE are also carrying out an in-water monitoring project on the foraging turtles and Juvenile Green and Hawksbill turtles are captured by the free-diving research team. During each capture, data is collected on the location, depth and habitat type, turtle size, weight and a blood/tissue sample is taken. All are tagged with Metal Inconel tags on the front flipper and Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags are injected into the shoulder muscle (just like the ones used to identify pets).
To take advantage of keen observers already in the water, our resort guests help by recording information on the turtles seen on their dives, which is then submitted on Caribbean Turtle Project data forms to the research team.