Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Common threat

Dr. Lorna Inniss, Acting Director of CZMU,
speaking to The Grenada Advocate.

Barbados has begun engaging in a comprehensive programme to pull an opportunity out of the problematic lionfish invasion into Caribbean waters. However, national efforts could be a mere drop in the ocean if a regional entity with the backing of all the Caribbean territories is not formed very soon to spearhead efforts in reducing the dangerous numbers of the venomous fish which is causing devastation to coastal and reef environments.

According to Dr. Lorna Inniss, Acting Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU), the approach that Barbados has taken to begin finding solutions to the lionfish problem has thus far been an exciting and promising one. Speaking to members of the media during the Lionfish Derby 2014, which culminated at Browne’s Beach in Barbados over the weekend, she explained that scientists from the CZMU had teamed up with divers as well as local chefs to show how the spiny fish could be deboned and prepared into many sumptuous dishes.

She said that the CZMU had embarked on a series of training programmes to work with fisherfolk and divers to get them to see the economic possibilities of capturing the fish and selling it as an alternative protein source, which would contribute to the country’s food security whilst helping to lower the effects the fish was having on reef fish populations.

Mojo’s Restaurant serving up some lionfishcakes.
Despite this, Dr. Inniss emphasised that victory could only be won through regional collaboration.
“[Getting a regional body to spearhead this is] one of the proposals lagging behind the others. We are in touch with the other islands but, in my view, that is not enough. It is time for us to have a regional organisation take ownership of this programme and say, ‘Look, countries come together and let’s deal with this,’” the scientist explained.

“We have begun the conversation, but if we are working so hard in Barbados and the other [countries] are not doing anything because they do not have the capacity to do so… you are not [going to see] the action on the ground and the involvement of stakeholders and partners.”
Miles Philips, Research Assistant with The Centre for Resource
Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), University
of the West Indies, demonstrating the removal of the spines.

The head of CZMU remarked that the Unit intended to invite other countries to view the progress Barbados was making through its derby.

She also stated that she was hoping for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to take this project on board.

“[UNEP] is hosting the Global World Environment Day here next month. They have signed on to a protocol to the Cartagena Convention on special protected areas and wildlife... [and] I know they have been doing a little bit of work, but I would be happy if they begin a much wider framework mechanism where every country is pulled in and we can begin working together in a co-ordinated fashion. I’m not sure that we can eradicate now, but we will be able... we have to be able to manage the [lionfish] population at a certain level,” she insisted.

It is understood that the levels of the lionfish are at critical stage throughout the region. (RS)

No comments:

Post a Comment