New developments and improvements to Barbados’ coastlines and maritime environment are high on the agenda for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy.
So says Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Sonia Foster, as she addressed the virtual opening ceremony of a training programme on the topic: Supporting the Blue Economy through Social Enterprise. The event was held this morning and hosted by the Pinelands Creative Workshop, in collaboration with the Ministry.
These improvements, she said, included the establishment of two marine managed areas, promoting coral restoration and exploring the possibility of mariculture.
Ms. Foster explained that Barbados was presently investigating opportunities for implementing mariculture to the north of the island for the commercial growth of sea moss.
Once conceptualised, she said there would be a need to designate the respective area specifically for mariculture scientific conservation.
Ms. Foster explained that as part of the development of a marine spatial plan for Barbados, extending out to the Exclusive Economic Zone boundary, it was necessary to find and collect reliable information on the existing conditions of the areas and the resources, both living and non-living.
However, she noted that at this juncture greater emphasis needed to be placed on the monitoring and evaluation of the coastal ecosystems to get a better understanding of their contribution to the ecosystem services they provided.
“Once this baseline has been established, the determination of areas worthy of establishment as MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) within the space can be pursued. This activity will be of significance for Barbados as it plays its role in the decade of ocean science,” Ms. Foster pointed out.
Meanwhile, she told the online participants that Barbados has also promoted coral restoration, with Government approving the use of Coral Trees, Coral A frames and Bio Rock approaches.
“These three techniques are all being implemented within 444 the boundaries of the West Coast marine managed area, while Coral A frames are being implemented only in the south coast marine managed area,” the Permanent Secretary said.
She added that the country had also established two marine managed areas with potential for other locations to be identified soon.
Ms. Foster explained the aim was to provide opportunities for ongoing related activities in a more structured and well managed approach, with a reduction in user conflicts along the coastline.
“There are three marine protected areas focused on coral reef and reef habitat protection and preservation on the West Coast, and artificial reef creation through the sinking of wrecks on the south coast, and their provisioning of natural ecosystem services reef fish replenishment,” she stated.
The Permanent Secretary further noted that it was envisaged that other locations along the coast will be further designated on the basis of their unique conservation opportunities.