Barbados is seeking to join the UK-led Global Ocean Alliance (GOA), to support the “30by30 movement”, established to protect 30 per cent of the ocean space by 2030.
And, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey is calling for the rest of the world to follow suit in what he has described as a “life and death” matter.
“It is not a case of us joining an Alliance because we want to join an Alliance. …The reality for Small Island Developing States is that if we do not get this right, we will not have another opportunity…. This is it,” he emphasised.
He made these comments on Friday following a tour of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Tanker, Wave Knight, one of two UK ships in the Caribbean during the hurricane season on hand to provide humanitarian support to the region in the event of a natural disaster.
The Minister was joined by Head of the Political and Communications Team of the British High Commission, Tom Hines, and officers from the vessel.
“I want to thank the UK, for leading this movement. We want to thank them as well for accepting hopefully, our attempt to join the Global Ocean Alliance…,” he said.
Mr. Humphrey stressed that critical decisions had to be made “now”, and noted that Barbados had already taken “very serious issues of the ocean”.
He explained it was this urgency that resulted in Barbados joining the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA), and more recently as co-chair of the leadership of the Blue Charter to lead the marine managed areas and marine protected areas with The Seychelles.
“So, it is only natural that we would wish to associate ourselves with the Global Ocean Alliance…. It is an international goal, it is not a country specificgoal,” the Minister outlined, noting Barbados was prepared to align itself with anyone seeking to deal with the serious ocean issues.
He commended the UK for the “amazing work” it was doing in relation to ocean matters, and noted that was why Barbados chose to associate itself with the movement.
Mr. Humphrey stressed that countries could no longer continue to treat the ocean in the same way as they were doing in the past as significant amounts of biodiversity in the ocean space had already been lost.
“We know that we’ve lost significant amounts of our biodiversity in our ocean space. We know that for us most of our methods, whether it is the coral, or if it is the fish that live here, they’re already at their maximum thermal capacity, which means that as the oceans get warmer, our capacity …to survive and feed ourselves become more and more, less likely.
“Therefore, there’s going to be a need for us to protect the ocean space. We also want to do the same thing…specifically as it relates to the coral,” Mr. Humphrey said.
In a statement, British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Scott Furssedonn-Wood, congratulated Barbados for joining the Global Ocean Alliance.
He described oceans as a precious resource which were facing unprecedented pressure. “Together, Barbados and the UK and other members of the GOA can make a positive case for increased protection of our oceans,” he said.
Meanwhile, Commander in the Royal Navy, Brian Trim, said he was pleased to welcome the Minister and his team which included Deputy Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Antonio Rowe, and Senior Technical Officer in the Ministry, Jacqueline Blackman, to tour the vessell.
“It is a great opportunity for our countries to work together,” Commander Trim said.
During the tour, Minister Humphrey and his team met members of the ship’s crew, toured the bridge and observed its helicopter. The 20-year-old vessel has a crew of 125 persons.
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Tanker, Wave Knight, left Barbados bound for Haiti, to render support following last week’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake.