Dr. Croy Michael Reeves McCoy was born on 31 October 1967 to Samuel and Mary McCoy of Cayman Brac. He attended primary and secondary education in Cayman Brac, graduating in 1984 from the then Cayman Brac High School.
His love for the ocean started at a very young age. He was an avid explorer of the green land, climbing the cliffs of Cayman Brac and exploring the turquoise sea of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. It was these tender years in Little Cayman with his parents at Sam McCoy Fishing and Diving Lodge that perked Croy’s interest, into what would set the foundation of his career as a Marine Biologist and hone his knowledge and contribution for the sustainable use and management of the marine resources of his homeland for his people.
At the age of 17 years, Dr. McCoy moved to Little Cayman permanently as a resident, joining his parents and brothers in Little Cayman to expand and develop the Fishing and Diving Lodge that his parents had established in 1983. Dr. McCoy had remarkable talent and knowledge for the underwater world and became a certified diver at 15 years old and a divemaster in 1985. He was intrigued by the ocean and the abundance of fish life that brought tourists near and far to these beautiful shores. Croy took great pride in sharing it with others.
With over four decades diving the coral reefs of the Cayman Islands, Croy witnessed many changes during that period on his native reefs. Cognizant of these changes, including global climatic changes that were impacting them, further prompted his enthusiasm to try to do something about it. Together with the Department of Environment, Bangor University, and the Darwin Initiative, a project evolved. This plan was to take a holistic view of our Marine Protected Area system. It involved measuring the performance of our Marine Park system overtime against chosen ecological metrics, which would give an index about how our Marine Park system objectives were being met. Then make suggestions based on the assessment to enhance and improve our network of marine reserves here in the Cayman Islands. The condition of the marine environment in most cases is a good measure of the standard of living the population adjacent to it enjoys. If we are to continue the high standard of living we all enjoy, we need to manage those marine resources properly and at a sustainable level.
This project presented an opportunity for Croy that he could embrace with great tenacity. With the financial support from the CI Government to pay part-time tuition, Croy embarked on another academic journey, registering at Bangor University, Wales UK to do his Doctorate Degree (Ph.D.) in the Ocean Sciences, with this research as his contribution not only to Science but to his country.
Additionally, Croy endured these years during his Ph.D., not only working full time but also managing the demands of a family to achieve his Ph.D. Furthermore, he has either authored or co-authored over two dozen peer-reviewed scientific papers on coral reefs over the years as a testament to his academic perseverance to better understand the ocean he calls home. Croy defended his research thesis attaining his Ph.D. in December 2018 and graduating in July 2019. The science behind the placement of our new marine reserves is the core of his Ph.D. He spent many years of his research in developing them. The placement of these new marine reserves took into consideration from the local fishermen to the tourism product we brand ourselves with, intending to benefit everyone. He spent many summers and winters doing in-water surveys of fish and coral reefs. It was a very jovial day for him when the Environment Minister announced to HRH, Prince Charles at the QEII Botanic Park earlier this year that Cabinet had approved the Bill for the expansion and enhancement of the Cayman Islands existing marine reserves. The years of hard work had paid off, the proper placement of the new marine reserves with clear management objectives is best practice in regards to the sustainable use of this resource. It also ensures that our dive tourism product is safeguarded and continues to grow for the foreseeable future across the three Cayman Islands.