Barbados has designated two areas off its coast as “No Anchoring” Areas (NAAs) in a bid to preserve its marine environment, particularly the coral reefs.
This was revealed by Marine Biologist at the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU), Angelique Brathwaithe, who said that the decision is expected to be “rubberstamped” by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization in about six months. Long Shoal Reef on the West Coast and Sharks Bank, situated about one mile off the Harbour Wall, will be established as NAAs.
She explained that there had been a history of damage to both reefs, primarily from the anchors of commercial vessels and this process was part of an effort to stop the degradation of the island’s valuable marine environment.
According to Ms. Brathwaithe, this process began in 2006 with the development of the NAA proposal and culminated last month with the submission of the document to the Sub Committee on Safety of Navigation at their annual meeting in London, July 23 to 27.
Barbados was supported in its proposal by the Bahamas and the United States of America and the plenary approved the designation on July 27.
This will be forwarded to the MSC for final adoption and will come into force no earlier than six months after acceptance.
After the designation, all international charts will have these two areas marked as NAAs.
The “No Anchoring” Areas will protect reefs from cargo vessels only. However, Barbados already has domestic laws in place to protect coral reefs from damage from other vessels.
In addition, Government has placed 42 moorings around the island so that dive boats could be tied to them properly instead of dropping anchor.