A focus on conservation and community efforts in the Bahamas

Shark tagging in the Bahamas. Photo: Andy Mann

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!

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Taking Steps Towards Ensuring the Viability of Fisheries in the Bahamas

We are thrilled to announce that as a result of tireless efforts led by BREEF, a closed season for the Nassau grouper will be enforced in the  Bahamas again this year (December 1st, 2014 – February 28th, 2015) and annually going forward thanks to changes in legislation.  During the closed season, grouper harvesting is prohibited throughout the winter spawning months. The Bahamian government has implemented closed seasons since 1998 following years of severe population declines due to over-harvesting and habitat destruction. However, permanent passage of the closed season has been a yearly battle until now.  With an annual closed season in place, efforts can focus on maximizing effectiveness with adequate enforcement.

Last year, The Moore Bahamas Foundation, the Bahamas affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation convened a Nassau Grouper workshop with BREEF, BNT, Perry Institute of Marine Science, and renowned artist and marine scientist, Guy Harvey to discuss collaborative efforts to protect this important species.

The Nassau grouper’s importance to the Bahamas culturally, economically and ecologically cannot be overstated. We congratulate the efforts of BREEF and the Bahamian government for this bold step towards ensuring the viability of grouper fisheries in the Bahamas for the future.

Learn more here.

 

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Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation

bcpic4A 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.