Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey. (FP)

Barbados’ south and west coasts will be designated as marine managed areas. This would see the areas of Fitts Village to Weston, along the west coast, and the Pier Head to Rockley, on the south coast, being named as “no take zones”.

This was announced today by Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, as he addressed the launch and premiere of the Coral Reef Restoration Alliance (CORALL) documentary entitled: Corals in Living Colour, at the Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve.

The Minister stressed that this action became necessary following the findings outlined in a report card from a study, carried out by the Coastal Zone Management Unit and CERMES, which examined all the coral around Barbados.

“There is no coral around Barbados currently defined as very good.  We have gone from good to very poor, but there was no area that was very good.  And therefore, this tells us that there is a necessity to start managing this space,” the Minister pointed out.

He explained that it meant attention needed to be paid to the areas of water runoff that pollutes the space, and fishing practices. “That is why very soon as well, we will be talking about some new regulations as it relates to fishing,” Mr. Humphrey added.

However, he gave the undertaking that his Ministry would negotiate various matters with fisherfolk and persons involved in the industry to ensure that a future in the sea was provided for generations to come.

The Minister said that there were also larger issues related to fishing which needed to be addressed, and stressed that would be made possible with Government’s “complete and total determination” and the support of its partners.

 He welcomed support in rebuilding the island’s coral reefs and commended CORALL for the work it was doing to support the effort.

Mr. Humphrey said corals play a key role in protecting the coastline in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean.  “It is a most important part of the Caribbean understanding and the Caribbean reality,” he pointed out, as he gave his support for the film and called for more projects of such a nature, going forward.

Meanwhile, National Coordinator of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme of the United Nations Development Programme, Dr. David Bynoe, noted that they were proud to support the documentary as it aligned with the global effort to “Reimagine, Recreate and Restore Ecosystems”.

He explained that the GEF Small Grants programme had taken the lead, in partnership with the Government of Barbados, in facilitating both the blue and green economy.

This has resulted in the programme facilitating more than 90 projects in every parish over the last seven years; raising awareness in over 50 schools and the training of fishermen in energy efficiency on their boats.

“This must be a global effort because the destruction of our ecosystems is a global problem and requires actions of all stakeholders. We must partner to save our ecosystems now.  Government, the private sector, academia, civil society, we must all work together to save our coral reefs; save our oceans, to reclaim our lands and to save our world,” he said.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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