Expand the Marine Protected Area in Carlisle Bay - Help save our sea turtles!
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Barbados' Sea turtles need protecting.
Last week, a young green turtle was found underwater strangled by fishing line and caught up in soft coral at the bottom of Carlisle Bay. He had a hook down his throat and a line wrapped around his neck. He had another hook caught in his arm that had wrapped itself around the coral, making it so he was unable to surface for the air he needed to survive. This young green turtle was one of the many turtles that fall victim to the carelessness of humans. While the death in itself is pretty horrific, the part that should upset you the most is that we find boats and fishermen with their hooks and lines in the same area all the time. Putting fishing lines in front of hungry turtles (in an area they have become accustomed to human interaction and feedings) is not only harmful to an already endangered species but to our tourism industry as well.
While Green and Hawksbill turtle sightings are very common in Barbados, they are not animals that flourish all over the world. Both species are on the [critically] endangered animals list and need our help. We are their number one predator, causing harm and depleting of their natural food source. We need to step up to initiate change.
That is why we are starting this petition. It is a call to:
1) Expand the south coast Marine Protected Area (MPA) to include all of Carlisle Bay.
2) To increase our MPAs to include just 10-20% of our coast line. This would represent approx.10km of our 92Km of coastline.
Turtles are protected by law in Barbados, yet fishermen are still out in areas commonly filled with sea turtles and snorkelers (including young children). Without any fishing legislation put in place, the Coast Guard can not intervene until a turtle is brought onto a boat. When a fisherman/women catches a sea turtle, they simply cut the line, leaving the hook lodged in the turtles mouths causing great harm and likely death in most cases.
Having a healthy population of sea turtles is something Barbados prides itself on. It is something many organizations (the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, The University of West Indies, Bellairs Research Centre and The Barbados Dive Operators Association) dedicate a lot of time and resources towards maintaining. Not only do we benefit ecologically, but we benefit financially from them as well. Our island, our fish, our tourism industry and our fishermen all benefit from having a large number of sea turtles around. Here's why:
They are good for our ocean, for our fisheries and our environment:
"Green turtles graze on seagrasses and algae, which maintains the seagrass beds and makes them more productive (much like mowing the lawn to keep it healthy). Seagrass consumed by green turtles is quickly digested and becomes available as recycled nutrients to the many species of plants and animals that live in the sea grass ecosystem. Seagrass beds also function as nurseries for several species of invertebrates and fish, many of which are of considerable value to commercial fisheries and therefore important to human food security." - World Wildlife Fund
They are very important for our tourism and water sports industries:
A study conducted by the Bellairs Research Institute last year helped determine the value of Barbados' sea turtle population. Each healthy and reliable sea turtle generates an estimated $1.7 million USD!! That's revenue a LOT of business' depend on in Barbados. Every hook lost down a sea turtles throat can be considered a million dollar loss to the country.
The argument against expanding Marine Protected Areas is the loss of livelihood for fishermen. Unfortunately, without expanding the Marine Protected Areas we will see the same results as the fish populations will become more and more depleted and our reefs die off at a quicker rate.
Fishermen have already begun to feel the effects of over-fishing and need to understand that the solution is not bigger or longer nets, the solution is not adding more fish-pots or leaving them down longer and the solution is not adding more hooks to your lines. Fish need to be given the opportunity to grow in size, to reproduce and to take care of our reefs. Expanding Marine Protected Areas has been proven to help repopulate reefs, to offer larger fish for catch and improve the coastline with healthy reefs. Protecting a larger area will help all of Barbados, Fishermen especially.
In summary, we are requesting that the Marine Protected Areas be increased to include the zones where the turtles visit most often, and where fish nurseries will be most beneficial to our island. Our coastline does a lot for us, it's about time we took some steps towards returning the favour.
Today: Andre Miller, Marine Biologist & PADI Ambassadiver and Kiera Bloom, PADI DiveMaster is counting on you
Andre Miller, Marine Biologist & PADI Ambassadiver and Kiera Bloom, PADI DiveMaster needs your help with “Coastal Zone Management Unit - Barbados: Expand the Marine Protected Area in Carlisle Bay - Help save our sea turtles!”. Join Andre Miller, Marine Biologist & PADI Ambassadiver and Kiera Bloom, PADI DiveMaster and 7,454 supporters today.