Showing posts from September, 2018

Protecting Land and Marine Reserves Of Tobago

Last week, this column looked at what individuals might do to protect their piece of paradise, their backyards in Tobago. This week, we review some special sites around Tobago that have been identified for national protected status, to be ratified by the Government. Pat Ganase reports. The National Protected Areas (NPA) Systems Plan for Trinidad and Tobago is complete, and now requires commitment through legislation and resources to be effected. Recommendations for Tobago include 13 terrestrial/ freshwater sites; 22 coastal/ marine areas; and extensive Open-Ocean Waters and Deep-Sea (OOWDS) areas amounting to some 15,600 km2 of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Prior to 1970, there was a utilitarian focus on the natural resources in the marine environment around Trinidad and Tobago. By 1975, the marine area under jurisdiction extended 12 nautical miles beyond the shores; this was pushed to 200 nautical miles in 1984. Today, the Plan seeks to bring some 22% of the EEZ under pr

Eco-solutions in your backyard

What’s the real challenge against climate change? What can an individual do? Dr Anjani Ganase identifies the problem – using more than we need aka excessive consumerism – and talks about wise use of at least one resource, water. We often come across these all-in-one solutions for saving the environment. Such solutions appear in the form of social media video campaigns where a simple action/ purchase, such as reusable shopping bags, reusable straws, smart light and hybrid cars may be enough to save the planet. However, even with the consumer substitution of more “eco-friendly” products, as long as we keep consuming, we are essentially swapping one resource for another, and therefore we continue to draw from the finite capacity of our natural environment. Furthermore no eco-friendly substitute may be suitable, when we consider the numerous environments and economies globally. For a small island nation, the carbon footprint of importing and manufacturing greener products, especially

Flycatchers Abound

Birding enthusiast and photographer, Faraaz Abdool, takes us into the world of Tyrant Flycatchers. These birds are found all over Tobago and Trinidad. Enjoy Faraaz Abdool’s beautiful photos of these noisy little birds  (All photos courtesy Faraaz Abdool). One of the largest families of birds in the entire world, the Tyrant Flycatchers have 39 members that live within Trinidad and Tobago. Of these, a dozen can be found occupying different types of habitat across Tobago. They are not the most dashing of birds, as they do not sport the rich blues, greens or reds that have made some other tropical birds famous. What they lack in chromatic extravagance they make up for in charisma, often calling loudly or boldly doing battle with a stinger-equipped wasp.  Brown-crested Flycatchers tend to have a cone-headed appearance. Photo by Faraaz Abdool Most flycatchers have the word “flycatcher” in their name. For example, the Ochre-bellied Flycatcher is so named because of its rich o

The Rundown on Harmful Algal Blooms

News of the red tides washing around Florida shores prompt concern among all places where the sea is a necessary resource. Can this happen in Tobago? Dr Anjani Ganase discusses the red tide phenomenon. On the back of a hot summer, reports and images of floating schools of dead fish, and dead dolphins, turtles, manatees and even one whale shark washing up along the shores of Florida’s west coast have been making their way into the news and social media. These are the devastating impacts of the harmful algal bloom, commonly known as the “Red Tide.” Although Red Tides tend to occur seasonally, most years, this latest harmful algal bloom, actually began in November 2017, 10 months ago, and the persistence and severity is exceptional, coming in second but slowly catching up to the length of the 2004-2006 Red Tide event that lasted seventeen months.  Whale shark necropsy performed on Sanibel Island by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)  to determine cause of de