Cabinet reviewing environmental damage in Berry Islands

Cabinet reviewing environmental damage in Berry Islands
Aerials of Mature Coral Reef Colonies in Grand Bahama’s National Parks. (photo credit: BNT)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Environment officials are awaiting the final review from Cabinet on the way forward regarding significant damage to marine assets near the Berry Islands by cruise ships.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Environment advised that a joint probe had been into claims of potential environmental damage caused by vessels sheltering in waters near the Berry Islands.

Initial assessments have reportedly showed significant damage to marine assets allegedly caused by the anchors of vessels anchoring in the area.

Director of the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection Rochelle Newbold said a team, assisted by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force,  went out to the site and found there was “legitimacy” to the concerns that were raised by some fishermen.

“The report that was submitted to the ministry and onwards to the Cabinet identifies a series of activities that are to be taken in order to address these issues and make sure it does not reoccur,” Newbold said, during a recent press conference.

“We await the final review from the Cabinet with regard to how or what actions we can take at this time based on the proposal that was put forward.”

An intergovernmental team had been tasked with completing a comprehensive assessment to determine the extent of the damage; quantify the value of damage and the potential remediation costs; quantify potential loss of revenue to stakeholders; determine gaps that existed in standard operating procedures, policies or legislation; and to engage those responsible to take corrective actions.