Categorized | National News

Gov’t Pushes Coastline Protection

Environment and government officials are gearing up for a meeting in Grand Bahama later this week to determine how the government could create protected areas for the country’s coastlines.

The second annual Senior Officers meeting is part of the Caribbean Challenge – a region-wide campaign to protect the health of the Caribbean lands and waters.

The initiative involves countries like Antiqua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The countries have committed to protecting 20 per cent of their coastlines by the year 2020.

During a news conference at the Cabinet Office Tuesday, Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett stressed the economic importance of the government protecting the coastlines.

“I also want to sensitise the Bahamian public to the fact that while we talk about increasing marine protected areas for environmental purposes, it is important for us to begin a conversation about the sustainable managing and financing of those areas and to begin a conversation with communities where these marine parks and marine protected areas exist and how they could be integrated into community economies and island economies, how they can be utilised as a resource for new job creation, while at the same time advancing our agenda for protecting our environment,” he said.

Bahamas National Trust Director Eric Carey echoed the minister’s sentiments.

“The coastlines are so important because it is where most people live, where most people gain their livelihood – whether it is from fishing or something tourism related. Protecting the near-shore areas is not just for the semantics of creating a protected area. Really it’s for ensuring the sustainability of our very existence,” he said.

“I think the minister is also spot on with recognising that protected areas also have to be integrated into people’s ways of life and that communities have to be involved and to make sure as we think about the planning for the management of these areas first and foremost is the benefits that they must bring into people.”

Mr. Carey said one of the things that Bahamians can consider is eco-tourism.

But he added that climate change must also be a part of the agenda.

“As a small island-state, we must be very aware of the potential impact of climate change. A three to four foot rise in sea level eliminates most of our beaches. A three or four foot rise in sea level impact most of our fresh water resources. And as such a country as small as we are, the leadership that The Bahamas has shown in the Caribbean Challenge under the Nature Conservancy globally is very important and it is important that we have the support of the minister and of the government.”

Officials say in order for the government to upkeep marine protected areas, it would cost it $7 million annually.

Minister Dorsett assured that the BNT and other environment stakeholders have that support as the government is currently drafting legislation for protected areas.

“We have to put in place the proper framework to ensure that it is sustained. I am pleased with the efforts being advanced by the National Trust, members of my ministry, the BEST Commission and other stakeholders in advancing a proper framework and model to determine how we are going to finance these areas and I believe that that is critically important and I think that is something that we recognise straight across the board.” 

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook