Stop Toco Port development from destroying turtle and reef habitats

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The development of a multipurpose port in Toco will cause irreversible damage to the marine ecosystems present in the area.

Toco is home to a unique fringing reef system that spans the coastline, Despite having atypical conditions for growth, it is a habitat for over 200 marine species, including crustaceans, sponges, sea urchins, soft coral, algae and fish. There are no other systems like it in Tobago or the wider Caribbean.

 The EIA for the port identifies the total removal of approximately 4.9 hectares of the reef system, citing faulty information for coral recovery rates, and suggests the rehabilitation of corals with artificial reefs but didn’t provide a concrete mitigation plan or a discussion of whether the reef would recover with them.

If the port is permitted to go forward, the reef will suffer.  

Toco’s reef and beaches are a nesting and feeding habitat for endangered leatherback turtles, and a resting migration point for hawksbill and green sea turtles. All three turtles are protected locally as Environmentally Sensitive Species, and protected internationally by four environmental Conventions.  The port will eliminate important habitats for turtles, and allow vessels to travel through a relatively quiet portion of the sea.

Sea turtles are highly sensitive creatures. The area will experience more noise and artificial light, turtles will be susceptible to vessel strikes, polluted or turbid waters (from sedimentation) can harm their health, they can be trapped in dredging activity, and any impacts to turtles here will have far-reaching impacts in the wider Atlantic.

A single reading of the EIA will show that it is riddled with errors; environmental impacts are downplayed, evidence is sourced from irrelevant studies and used in error, and the mitigation plans are insufficient. The port should not be approved with such a flawed EIA.

We the people are not satisfied with the port project on the basis that it will cause irreparable damage to the environment and marine sea creatures.

We ask the EMA to reject the CEC application (CEC 5345) until more quantifiable evidence of the potential environmental impact is produced.

Please sign the petition and let’s unite our voices to defend the environment. It’s the only one we have.