Stakeholders give feedback on country’s marine-protected areas

Pictured from left: Eric Carey, Executive Director, Bahamas National Trust; Shenique Albury-Smith, Director, Nature Conservancy; Philip Weech, Director, BEST Commission;Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard and Carlton Bowleg, Parliamentary Secretary.  (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

“Realizing the 2020 Goal to Effectively Manage and Expand Bahamian Marine Protected Areas” was the aim of the press conference held at the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources last Wednesday.

Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael C. Pintard said he wanted to make sure every stakeholder is aware of what is “being contemplated”.

Stakeholders will have the chance to give feedback on the ministry’s future ideas, which appeared in The Nassau Guardian, Wednesday, July 25, 2018 and appeared again on Monday, July 30, 2018.

There are currently several marine protected areas in The Bahamas.

Director of the Bahamas Nature Conservancy, Shenique Smith explained that some benefits of marine protected areas include food security, economic benefits in the Fisheries and Tourism sectors, storm surge reduction, and cultural and recreational uses.

She described a marine protected area as “a clearly defined area of the sea or coastline which receives a higher level of legal protection and management than surrounding areas… these areas can also be managed as multi-use areas with zones that permit different types of activities compatible with maintaining a healthy marine environment or as a ‘fisheries replenishment area’ where no fishing or extraction of any kind is permitted”.

This helps to increase the amount of fish caught in surrounding areas because fish in protected areas get a chance to breed more efficiently.

The list of proposed Marine Protected Areas can be found on Facebook page: Bahamas Protected or @242Protected.

Please comment by responding to the three questions posted or send your responses to bahamasprotected@gmail.com. It is important to the Government to get support and feedback from the public; particularly those whose main livelihoods depend directly on marine resources.

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This article was written by Sydnei L. Isaacs, Bahamas Information Services.