President of Barbados, The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason (second from right); and Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde (right); Atlantis Submarines General Manager, Roseanne Myers (left) and a crew member prepare to board the submarine for a tour on Tuesday. The tour was part of company’s 35th anniversary celebrations. (B. Hinds/BGIS)

Government has welcomed the intention of the Atlantis Submarine to become more involved in the protection and restoration of the island’s coral reefs.

This was announced on Tuesday by its General Manager, Roseanne Myers, during a tour of the ocean floor on board the Atlantis Submarine, accompanied by President of Barbados, Her Excellency, The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason; Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde, and other Ministry officials.

The event formed part of the Atlantis Submarine’s 35th anniversary celebrations, as it is now recognised as the longest existing leisure submarine in the world.

“I want to say that the significance is immeasurable [especially] when you have a company with an altruistic drive that not only speaks to enhancing our tourism product, but one which seeks to redefining the whole meaning of sustainable development, and the sustainable development of our oceans, our reefs, our marine environment, because that is what Atlantis has been doing for the better part of 35 years,” Mr. Forde said.

He congratulated Atlantis Submarine on its achievement in diving for the past 35 years, and welcomed its drive and thrust for educating Barbados’ young people and the elderly.

The Minister told those present that there must be a collective fight to preserve the island’s marine ecosystems, biodiversity and reefs.

Mr. Forde said Government recognised that about 90 per cent of the ocean was unmanned, and was likely to have 30 per cent more biodiversity if fully exploited.

“And so, as a small island developing state, we want to ensure that our reefs are regenerated, that our coral supply is sustained, and that those plants called the marine flora…that those things can be preserved,” he said.

The Minister explained that this was essential to islands like Barbados in mitigating the effects of climate change and natural disasters.

Ms. Myers said Atlantis Submarine valued the importance of sustainable tourism, noting that such businesses could only survive if the reef survived.  

She added that they intended to work with the Coastal Zone Management Unit to launch its own coral nursery later this month in an effort to assist with the regeneration of the coral reefs.

She further noted that the company was also willing to assist with the education of people on how they could protect the island’s coral reefs.

Ms. Myers was the first employee of Atlantis Submarine, and is one of five that started with the company when it opened 35 years ago.

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