by John Bell
For 26 years Guy Harvey has signed his trademark autograph for fans at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. This year the internationally regarded marine artist and conservationist, is politely asking for their signature to support a petition drive to protect stingrays in the Cayman Islands.
Guy Harvey - Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
'The wellbeing of stingrays affects every single person in the Cayman Islands,' said Dr. Harvey, who pointed out that half a million visitors per year from around the world come to swim and interact with these charismatic animals. 'By signing this petition you are speaking out against the unconscionable acts of harming stingrays, especially when taking them out of their natural habitat.'
Harvey’s campaign was prompted in part after four stingrays tagged for study were found at a Cayman Island Dolphin Discovery facility and returned after a national outcry. However, six other untagged stingrays remain in captivity at the dolphinarium.
Stingray Study in Cayman Islands - Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
The plight of these stingrays put a searing spotlight on a loophole in Cayman Islands law. Currently, stingrays are only protected in the country’s designated Wildlife Interactive Zone, Stingray City and the Sandbar, two of the island’s best known tourist attractions, especially among cruise ship excursions.
Harvey said that outside of the Cayman Islands zones there is no protection for stingrays and they can be removed and/or caught and eaten by local residents. The enactment of a National Conservation Act, which has repeatedly been postponed for the last ten years, would close this loophole.
Visitors to the Guy Harvey booth, located in the entrance tent at the Bahia Mar Yacht Center can led their support by signing the petition. Harvey will be present at this year’s show from Thursday through Sunday.
To sign the petition online, click here.