Most Barbadians are unaware of the function of coral reefs and the fact that without them, our beaches, and life as we know it, would cease to exist.

This assertion has come from Marine Biologist with the Coastal Zone
Management Unit, Angelique Brathwaithe, who said that in some cases up to 50 percent of the island’s coral reefs have been lost in the last decade, with most persons being oblivious to the fact that they were playing a role in their demise.

It is against this backdrop that the Coastal Zone Management Unit, in association with the Centre for Environmental Resource Management (CERMES) of the University of the West Indies, produced and launched a coffee table book on December 10, last year,  titled ‘Barbados: A Coral Paradise’. 

Ms. Brathwaithe, along with fellow Marine Biologist, Ramon Roach and
Professor of Marine Ecology and Fisheries at the University of the West Indies, Hazel Oxenford, are its primary authors.

In giving insight into the book, Ms. Brathwaithe said its primary goal was to introduce the public to the beauty and function of coral reefs. 

“Most of us are unaware of what exists underwater and the role that these organisms play in our lives.  Most of us are also unaware that Barbados itself was once a coral reef and that without them we would have no reef fish and associated organisms, no beaches, and [we] would lose the way of life as we know it,” she explained.

The Marine Biologist said it was hoped that by showcasing the beauty of the island’s coral reefs, that persons’ interest could be peaked and eventually they would assist in protecting them.

Beginning next week, officials from the two agencies will be on hand at Cave Shepherd locations across the island between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., daily for book signings.

The first starts off next Friday, April 3 at the Cave Shepherd Broad Street branch; followed on Tuesday, April 7, at the Worthing, Christ Church (Vista) branch and Thursday, April 9 at Sunset Crest, St. James.
The book celebrates both the Art and Science of Barbados’ coral reefs, both in water as vibrant ecosystems and out of water as this ‘rock’ on which Barbadians exist.

It describes their biology, geology, location, health and management against a vivid backdrop of Barbadian poetry, art and photography inspired by coral reefs. 
The works of esteemed poet Kamau Brathwaite, Bill Grace’s sculptures, Andrew Western’s Photography, Yanique Hume’s choreography, Andrea King’s fashion and Glen “Genki” Brathwaite’s designs are all featured in the book.

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