Posts

Resilient Chacachacare

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  Anjani Ganase looks at the world reflected on one of our country’s tiny western isles, Chacachacare     The most westerly and possibly the farthest isle away from Tobago in the same country is Chacachacare. It lies in the Bocas, the body of water that separates the northwest peninsula of Trinidad from Venezuela. This island is a reflection of our human history from colonization, slavery, revolutions, agriculture, war and disease. Today, Chacachacare is visited by boaters and hikers who take the half hour trek west to the island to swim in calm sheltered bays and wander the overgrown roads that lead to the lighthouse in the north and to the famous salt pond in the south on paths that have been trod for hundreds of years.   The records of Chacachacare date back to pre-Columbian times. Archeologists have discovered Amerindian presence in middens, piles of shells, pottery and food remains. In 1498, when Christopher Columbus rediscovered Trinidad and Tobago, his fleet stayed one nig

Seaspiracy Controversy

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The documentary Seaspiracy does more to spur controversy over the validity of statements and encourages finger pointing instead of fostering discussion for genuine change in the ways that marine resources are used and managed. Anjani Ganase discusses what might have been done to achieve better conversations   I don’t watch documentaries as they feel like work and are often too depressing. However, I watched Seaspiracy because there seemed to be a discrepancy between the reviews from the scientific community and those viewers not working in ocean research and conservation. Regular reviewers were left appalled by the greed and unregulated practices in the fishing industry, while the marine scientists were angered. The documentary was heavily criticized by the scientific community for the false statistics and the misinformation, including the retracted statement that there will be no fish by the year 2048. I’m not going to delve into this here, as it is covered in detail by scientist

Avoiding Climate Disaster

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Every person in the world can play a part in averting climate disaster. Dr Anjani Ganase, marine ecologist reviews Bill Gates’s book and presents his advice as it applies to citizens of small islands like Tobago   Bill Gates’s book How to Stop a Climate Disaster is a practical manual on the necessary steps to bring our carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. There is no blame, rather a very specific goal to reduce the annual global emissions of 51 billion tons of carbon to net zero. To put this in perspective, the pandemic of 2020, which pulled the hand brake on the world’s economy only reduced annual emission by five percent and we obviously need to avoid the death and the economic disaster that resulted in the reduction. In fact, Gates expects to reach zero while continuing to grow economies and improving the standard of living of the most vulnerable. How do we do this? Will Power. Where do we direct this will power? Gates identifies four major sectors to focus efforts.   Sea

Benefits of the Man and Biosphere Reserve

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As more and more Trinis are holidaying in Tobago under lockdown, tourism operators refurbish property and investigate the potential in the latest gateway to opportunity, the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve (MAB) designation for Northeast Tobago. Pat Ganase talked with Aljoscha Wothke a Director and CEO of the Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville (ERIC) who took the lead in coordinating the application on behalf of the Tobago House of Assembly and Government. Here are Aljoscha’s thoughts on “the tool that MAB should be.”                     Pirates Bay, where moorings will be located away from the reef. Photo by Pat Ganase RECOGNITION OF TOBAGO’S UNIQUE OFFERINGS Trinidad and Tobago is proud to be the location of one of the recent Man and Biosphere Reserves designated in October 2020. Northeast Tobago is the largest site in the English-speaking Caribbean islands, some 83,488 ha with a marine area of 68,384 ha that is home to coral reefs and open ocean The Northeas

Eat the Sea

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Until Easter, fish is in great demand by people observing Lent. While everything from the sea might be good to eat, not everything from the sea should be eaten. Dr Anjani Ganase discusses an ethical approach to consuming and conserving what comes from the sea; and gives us some recipes.   The concept of giving up meat for Lent is meant to highlight self-discipline and the appreciation for what we have. It is a time when our food choices holistically complement the theme of penitence:   we make conscious efforts to act with mindfulness to choose food that is perhaps more environmentally friendly, ethically grown or cultivated, or simply to avoid doing additional harm to our environment. As fish is a popular alternative to meat, I propose that this Lent we all do a little bit more to find out what seafood is better to eat, and what species might be more important to their ecosystems.                          Fishing boat at Charlotteville: one man pirogue with bamboo poles for fish

The Decline of Caribbean Coral Reefs... and an unlikely Hero

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Why should we care about coral reefs when the economy is failing? Dr Anjani Ganase coral reef ecologist has argued that coral reef health is indicative of the health of the ocean and the earth. She provides an update.   No, this crab should not be hunted and eaten. He can be an important grazer on coral reefs, helping to clear seaweed and algae to allow corals to regrow.   For those of us aware of coral reef declines in the Caribbean, it was a series of unfortunate events over the last 50 years. For those of us who are unaware, here is a quick recap.   Today the Caribbean reefs are a shadow of what they used to be during the 1960s and 70s. I learned to scuba dive 15 years ago; and back then the reefs were already severely compromised. Unique in every way, Caribbean coral reefs have been explored by famous scientists. William Beebe dived in Haiti; Jacques Cousteau in Belize and Guadeloupe and some say even Buccoo Reef in the 1950 – 60s. However, by the time Tr