Shark tagging in the Bahamas. Photo: Andy Mann
This month, as the temperatures dips, we turn our focus to conservation and hurricane recovery in the Caribbean. From safeguarding marine areas from illegal fishing and development, advancing sustainable conch fisheries, protecting the Nassau grouper, preserving the Clifton Bay area, and rebuilding in the wake of Joaquin, The Moore Charitable Foundation and its Bahamas affiliate, The Moore Bahamas Foundation support community, environmental and education programs and the fragile marine environment of The Bahamas.
Some of the key areas we look forward to exploring in January are:
- Marine research, Protection and Education. We will be showcasing organizations that advance local marine conservation efforts around The Bahamas, and education initiatives that provide hands-on opportunities to learn about the Bahamian marine environment.
- Preserving the land of Clifton Bay. Focusing on protecting Clifton Bay and surrounding marine environments through proactive policy change, advocacy and education, The Foundation will highlight initiatives that encourage effective land use and habitat restoration efforts to benefit the land, coast, water and local communities.
- Sustainable Fisheries. We will report on initiatives that protect key species in Bahamian waters, including the Queen conch and the Nassau grouper, and assist fishery managers with best practice management of sustainable fisheries.
- Shark Sanctuaries. To provide sharks maximum protection from overfishing, The Moore Bahamas Foundation partners with groups mapping juvenile shark habitats and nursery sites in the Bahamas area; advocating for important shark protection laws, and raising awareness through education channels and public service campaigns. We will bring these stories to our readers.
- Hurricane Recovery. A new focus since the devastation of Hurricane Joaquin, we will shine light on the restoration efforts in Southeastern Bahamas Islands, building core community structures with an eye to an environmentally responsible future; and rebuilding strong homes while simultaneously creating jobs.
Partners in the Bahamas whom we hope to make familiar include Bahamas National Trust, Research Foundation for State University of New York Stony Brook, Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation and The Bahamas Hurricane Restoration Foundation. Tune into our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels to get the most out of our stories. Happy New Year!
A few weeks ago, Moore Charitable Foundation had the opportunity to meet with Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation’s (BREEF) Executive Director, Casuarina McKinney, and their new Field Studies Coordinator, Falon Catwright. With funding from The Moore Bahamas Foundation, Falon joined BREEF last year and has already made a big impact. In March, Falon lead a series of student field trips including visits to bonefish ponds and mangroves as well as snorkeling at Stuart Cove. Students were able to engage with their environment in new ways and learn the significance of protecting natural resources for those to come. Falon will lead series of camps this summer and continue to engage students with nature through outdoor educational activities. I look forward to seeing what Falon and BREEF can accomplish as they continue to raise awareness about the Bahamas’ most important environmental issues through outreach and education.
When we were introduced a couple of years ago to Demian Chapman, a leading expert in marine conservation and an Assistant Professor at SUNY’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, he opened our eyes to the dire condition of many species of sharks.Sharks are critical in helping maintain the natural balance and health of the marine environment. Sharks are threatened for a variety of reasons but many large species have declined because of unsustainable fishing to supply the Asian dried seafood trade, where shark fins are used in the delicacy shark fin soup.
In 2013 and 2014, The Moore Charitable Foundation supported research expeditions in the Bahamas. This year’s expedition, led by Demian, included a revolutionary study on the movements and behavioral patterns of oceanic whitetip sharks, one of the species most threatened by the shark fin trade.Demian and his research team worked to map shark habitats and nursery sites, gather genetic samples, and track endangered shark species like the oceanic whitetip.
Understanding sharks’ behaviors and migration patterns is just one step in a long journey to help secure their future. The information gathered during this research expedition will continue to promote the protection of the species and the role they play in maintaining the health of our delicate marine ecosystem.
Please stay in touch and get the latest updates from the research team by following them at: http://sharkchronicles.wordpress.com/