Barbuda is celebrating the third anniversary of the creation of its marine sanctuaries.
In 2014, the Barbuda Council established the marine reserves and no-net zones to protect and replenish the island’s marine environment.
Three years ago, the council adopted a set of new ocean management regulations to zone Barbuda’s coastal waters, strengthen fisheries management and create a network of marine sanctuaries.
These regulations stemmed from a partnership between the Barbuda Council, Government of Antigua & Barbuda, Barbuda Fisheries Division, Codrington Lagoon Park and the Waitt Institute, under the umbrella of the Blue Halo Initiative.
“This type of management must become the status quo,” said Ted Waitt, Founder Chairman of the Waitt Institute. It has been an honor to support the people of Barbuda as they take decisive steps to conserve their reefs and fisheries.”
Since developing the regulations in 2014, Barbuda established five marine sanctuaries, collectively protecting 33 percent of the coastal area, to enable fish populations to rebuild and habitats to recover.
“These regulations show a commitment from Barbudans that restoring coral reefs, and creating a sustainable ocean management plan is critically important, not just to current ocean users but also for future generations” said Blue Halo Barbuda Site Manager, Robin Ramdeen.
After the successful installation of signs on land and water earlier this year, Barbuda’s marine protected area zones are now clearly marked for fishers and other ocean users.
Sanctuary areas where no fishing can take place are marked with a yellow buoy with blue bands.
Areas where no mooring or anchoring is allowed have yellow buoys with a green band, and areas where nets are prohibited have yellow buoys with a red band.
Additionally, shipping lanes are marked with red/green buoys.
Maps showing the location of the sanctuaries are available at the Fisheries Divisions in Antigua and Barbuda.
“We encourage anyone fishing or boating in Barbuda’s waters to get the boat card that shows where Barbuda’s coastal zones are located,” said Ramdeen. “Honoring Barbuda’s protected areas, is both a right and a responsibility.”