Categorized | National News

BNT Takes Notes From Hawaii on Marine Protected Areas

Two Bahamas National Trust (BNT) staff members and Abaco community members, recently traveled to Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii to learn from the Hawaiian experience with local partnerships, government agencies, conservation groups and law enforcement agencies that are serving to support marine law enforcement .

David Knowles, BNT Director of parks, Elsworth Weir , BNT Grand Bahama warden, Paul Pinder, president of the Abaco Fly Fishing Guide Association (AFFGA) and Cindy Pinder, secretary AFFGA took part in the meetings, which were coordinated by a number of community based enforcement groups and the Hawaiian Department of Conservation and Resources enforcement unit.

Hawaii is home to a number of innovative programmes which provide community members with opportunities for the direct involvement in the management of near shore marine resources.

“Coastal and protected area managers around the world face common challenges from scarce financial and human resources for effective enforcement of regulations,” said David Knowles, BNT Director of Parks.

“On this visit we’re seeing first-hand how other conservation managers address similar issues,” he explained. “Sharing in the lessons learned by the Hawaiian resource enforcement agencies is invaluable as we step up to the challenges of protected area management in The Bahamas.”

The visit was hosted by the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute with support from NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and The Nature Conservancy’s Reef Resilience Program in conjunction with the Pacific Islands Marine Protected Areas Community (PIMPAC)

The BNT recently received official national park designation for five new national parks in San Salvador and have submitted proposals to expand the national park systems in Grand Bahama and Abaco.

All of these parks have a marine component so these meetings came at an extremely beneficial time for the BNT.

“Providing opportunities for local communities to become involved in the management of their marine resources is a priority for the BNT,” said Eric Carey, BNT Executive Director. “Initiatives such as these build voluntary compliance for fisheries regulation and assist enforcement authorities in reducing adversarial relationships with resource users. “

Written by Jones Bahamas

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