The bulk of Maxey Cosmetics’ business serves industry R&D. Through a distribution partnership with Sapphire North America, Maxey sells raw materials, chemicals, and assay kits. The company does however manufacture and sell a small selection of finished goods, namely eyelash products and skin brightening products.
The deal looks to benefit that part of the business most directly. The company’s Maxeylash Island Girl product “is a clear, liquid nutrient system that feeds your lashes as you sleep,” according to the company’s site, “…a new formulation containing Black Sea Rod Oil from the Caribbean Sea.”
The Cayman Island government and Maxey formalized the 5-year coral harvesting deal in a signing ceremony late last year. As part of the arrangement, the government is allowing Maxey to use special labels that highlight the authorized coral sourcing. The labels include these words: “Ingredients Harvested in Cooperation with Cayman Island Government.”
“Maxey Cosmetics may use [the] labels on its products in order to highlight the sustainable use of BRSO – a marine ingredient that will be collected in Cayman waters, under strict conditions set and monitored by the Department of Environment,” explains the government in a statement to the press.
Terms and conditions apply
Black Sea Rod contains the bioactive lipid prostaglandin A. The coral can grow to over 1 foot high and is found throughout the Caribbean in water less than 200 feet deep.
In the Cayman Islands, coral harvesting is generally prohibited. So the Department of Environment set some parameters for this deal. Gina Ebanks-Petrie, the department’s director, outlines the terms:
“The conditions include restricting the harvesting to a defined location outside of any of the marine protected areas; specifying the amount of the tips of coral that can be collected, which allows the colony to regrow and to be sustained; DoE monitoring of the collection; and a royalty of CI$25,000 per kilogram wet weight, as well as a royalty for the oil, that is extracted, which will be deposited each quarter in Cayman's Environmental Protection Fund and used to support the Islands' marine conservation.”
Beyond that, “The agreement also requires Maxey and DoE to return to the collection site 8 – 12 weeks after the harvesting, to re-photograph sampled colonies to document their condition and regrowth,” she tells the press.
Wayne Panton, the territory’s Minister of Environment, in an official statement affirms that, “This new agreement incorporates clauses that specifically take account of the provisions of our marine conservation legislation, as well as commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity regarding the need to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of a country's genetic resources.”
The cosmetics company has harvested similar coral in the area for some time; this history influenced the government’s decision to sign the new deal.
“Maxey has a proven track record with respect to their collection of gorgonians in Cayman waters, which it has been doing in previous collaborations with Government for more than 30 years,” says Panton. “Through monitoring of collection sites, Maxey has demonstrated the long-term sustainability of their methods,” he adds.