MARIN Tobago project aims to restore coral reefs

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Planning and Development Pennelope Beckles at the launch of MARIN Tobago pilot project at Pigeon Point Heritage Park on Tuesday. – David Reid

Marine Resilience Initiative (MARIN) Tobago – an 18-month pilot project – has been launched to help devise a strategy to protect Tobago’s world-renowned coral reefs. The Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) is spearheading the initiative to determine the most effective strategies to rehabilitate and strengthen the endangered ecological wonder.

The project, which was launched at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park on Monday by the IMA in partnership with bpTT, seeks to determine the appropriate and feasible rehabilitation strategies for both the coral reef as well as the seagrass beds that surround Tobago.

At the launch, Minister of Planning and Development Pennelope Beckles said, “Indeed, so much more is happening beyond the aesthetics of the sand upon which we stand, the surrounding lush foliage and swaying coconut trees, and the picturesque shores of the Pigeon Point Beach with its backdrop of aquamarine waters. Underneath that cover of beauty, nature is giving its all to maintain and preserve both the quality of life we live and our livelihoods.”

She said the ecosystems provide too many services to allow the degradation to go unaddressed.

“Our fisherfolk, tour operators, small traders depend on these marine ecosystems to remain at its optimum in order for their ocean-based business to grow and prosper. The importance of this assessment, therefore, cannot be over emphasised.”

She affirmed the ministry’s commitment to actively support, foster and advance dialogue and action that will enable the delivery of the development goals within the shortest time frame.