OPINION PIECE… (Updated)
Written by George Grant on June 4, 2013
SLAP IN THE FACE
The recommencing of the marina project in Carriacou is a slap in the face for environmentalist and the people of the Grenadines.
The Tyrrel Bay mangroves and oyster bed are among the major nursery grounds in the Grenadines. Over the years, Governments and NGOs have been doing a lot to protect this area. This area has recently been declared a Marine Protected Area by Grenada and is widely recognized by the world community.
When the NNP administration gave the go ahead for this project in 2004, we saw the loss of over two acres of mangroves due to the high salt concentration.
Added to that, part of the reef protecting the mangroves was dredged. Effects of the dredging can be seen along the Tyrrell Bay shoreline.
Fishing is the main income earner for the Grenadine islands and Grenada and will be this for decades to come. This short sightedness of the NNP administration will definitely harm the ability of the people of the Grenadines to earn a decent living. The sustainability of our fishing grounds depends on the protection of our nursery areas and mangroves.
Over the seven years of construction this project only provided — at most seven jobs — on and on-off basis.
The Government allowing these guys to reclaim another 7 ½ acres of land is only pay back for their support in the last election.
HELP SAVE OUR MANGROVES AND OYSTER BED NO TO THE MARINA
Carriacou and Petite Martinique have recognized the value of protecting their natural resources and, therefore, have put in place some environmental policies that are more specific and advanced than other SIDS. What is now the Marine Protected Area (MPA) had been considered a potential site for a new port prior to investigating the possible negative implications on the environment.
The MPA of Sandy Island and the Oyster Bed now has legislation for conservation of the marine environment, Sandy Island, the oyster bed and surrounding mangroves.
The Sandy Island Oyster Bed MPA is considered to be one of the most important marine ecosystem in the region and a culturally significant area for the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Safeguarding this area ensures the health of our marine and coastal ecosystems including our extensive coral reef systems, coastal mangrove forest and small islands for wildlife habitat, fisheries, nursery and sea grass beds.
Protected areas around the Caribbean and the world have resulted in increased numbers in species variation and sizes of fish, as well as improve fish production for areas outside the demarcated boundaries. The SIOBMPA operates as a fisheries nursery where marine life forms within the zone is protected and untouched, thus ensuring the preservation and sustenance of fish species to mitigate against overfishing and destruction of other marine resources. The area also provides for a number of migratory birds a safe habitat and also harbors one of the most diverse ecosystems including iguanas.