|A Consett Bay fisherman explains to government agency representatives some of the changes residents would like to see in the boatyard. (A.Miller/BGIS)|
The Ministry of the Environment and Drainage is moving into the next phase of a pilot project on sustainability being carried out at Consett Bay, St John.
Up-scaling Sustainable Resource Management in Coastal Watershed Communities of Barbados’ National Park and System of Open Spaces is a project aimed at promoting development and improving the quality of life in communities, like Consett Bay, that traditionally have depended on the natural environment around them.
According to Environmental Education Officer of the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Donna King-Brathwaite, "We thought it useful to take a closer look at the resources that are present [in Consett Bay] and enhance those resources so as to improve upon the livelihoods as well as diversifying the livelihood opportunities for the people in the community."
She further noted that some of the areas which the Ministry hoped to positively influence include education, income diversification and technological development.
"We are looking at the resources that are here already – which would be the fishing resources, the major watercourse coming through the area, and animals and plants that are unique to the area in some cases – and looking to see how to preserve those aspects of the space and the ecosystem.
"In addition to that, there are some things the members of the community themselves have been calling for improvement on, from the fisheries and market perspective.??????We can see all of those improvements coming out of a project like this," she added.
The pilot project will try to maximise the efficiency and sustainability of both natural and human resources in the Consett Bay area. Consequently, it is hoped that practices such as fishing and farming will become financially fulfilling, socially just and less damaging to the terrestrial and marine environment.
In 2009, the Ministry of the Environment, along with the Ministry of Agriculture, the community and other stakeholders, collaborated to stage a sustainable fishing educational exposition.?? It heralded new found interest within the management of the natural resources located there.
During this exercise, the community and fisherfolk spoke about a number of developments which they wanted to see come to fruition at Consett Bay, which they identified as having significant earning potential for themselves.
"The idea is to get cohesion and agreement in terms of what needs to be done so that everybody can not only exist in the space, but make a living in terms of economic benefits.
"As Consett Bay is a close-knit community and everyone interacts at some level, it actually lends itself to that kind of social, environmental, and cultural heritage as well, which are all very strong in the space. We’re promoting all of those aspects that will lead ultimately to sustainable development," Mrs. King-Brathwaite added.