Passengers board Cool Runnings glass-bottom boat at Pigeon Point for a Buccoo Marine Park tour. PHOTO BY AYANNA KINSALE –
Parties and drinking alcohol in the Buccoo Reef Marine Park, Tobago, are strictly prohibited, the THA Division of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development has warned again.
In a statement on Thursday, the division also said visits to the marine park are only permitted between 10 am and 5.30pm.
It said the only boats allowed in are registered and insured ones with access and/or transit permits issued by the division. Fishing of any kind is also strictly prohibited in the marine park.
The division’s statement came just over a month after videos were posted on social media showing scores of people drinking and dancing to music from reef tour vessels in the Nylon Pool.
Police were criticised for not stopping the event and holding the organisers accountable. But at that time, the police said they had no boat.
Chief Secretary Farley Augustine subsequently said he planned to hand over two patrol vessels to the police to patrol the waters in and around the park. The boats, which were once used for patrols during the Dragon Boat Festival, had been stored at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex.
On that occasion, Augustine also spoke about plans to send a bill to Parliament for the THA to create and protect its marine environment.
In its statement, the division acknowledged what it called the “emergent unauthorised use” of the Buccoo Marine Park, especially for hosting parties. It said the park is a restricted marine area under the Marine Areas (Preservation and Enhancement) Act of 1970.