Government to focus on marine conservation
May 6, 2005
Government to focus on marine conservation

A proper management structure aimed at the preservation and conservation of the Tobago Cays Marine Park had become necessary since the balance between sustainable use was a delicate situation.

This was a point driven home by Senator Edwin Snagg, minister with responsibility for Grenadines Affairs as he addressed the launch of the OPAAL Project on Friday April 22.{{more}}

“Some areas that were totally covered with sea grass are now bare” he said, noting that the reduction of the mangrove in the Ashton Harbour and its environs, the only one of its kind in St.Vincent and the Grenadines was a serious issue for environmentalists.

In his emotional address, Senator Snagg, who was born in the Grenadines noted that the fish stock was declining in the Grenadines causing fishermen to venture further out with their fishpots in search of delicacies such as conch and lobster.

He recalled that there were areas where, in the past, children collected small conch and lobsters among the sea grass. He lamented that they were all now gone.

But expressing optimism, Snagg said it would be just a matter of time before the conservation of the Tobago Cays provides a sustainable livelihood for many people.

“Certainly from the tourism aspect which is so critical to the survival of many residents, all stand to benefit from the ripple effect: the T-shirt vendors and water taxi operators who provide a range of services to visitors,” he said.

Expressing a similar sentiment was Minister of the Environment Dr. Douglas Slater, who noted that if steps were not taken now to save the natural environment, life saving species of animals and plants could become extinct. He reiterated that if there was one reason why human beings must do more to conserve the environment it would be for that reason alone. Since it takes “cash to care” the funding received from OPAAL was greatly appreciated.

Dr. Slater made the point that as elected politicians they have the responsibility to make legislation and policies to protect the environment.