Showing posts from May, 2020

Eels of the Caribbean

Dr Anjani Ganase, marine ecologist, tells us about the eels that inhabit our coral reefs. Research shows, she says that "... eel species that occur in different coral reefs around the world have strikingly similar genetics, even though their distances apart..." Eels have an unfortunate association with snakes because they look like them. However, eels are not related to snakes at all; rather they are specially adapted fish that have developed without fins. To move in their underwater world, they undulate their long bodies to create propulsion which moves them through the water. This means that they swim easily in the water column and do not just slither along the bottom. They have flattened bodies and tails that allow them to swim with considerable grace - like a colourful ribbon rippling in the wind. On coral reefs around the world, eels are a common sight in bright colours - greens, yellows with exotic spotted or reticulated patterns. Unl

Blessing in Disguise for Buccoo Reef Marine Park

What’s happening at Buccoo Reef Marine Park during Covid-19 Shivonne Peters, marine scientist, advocates seasonal closure of the Buccoo Reef Marine Protected Area, for recuperation and research, and calls for stricter management practices. The current closure due to Covid-19, however, has brought another problem to light, poaching. In Trinidad and Tobago, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the closure of the nation’s beaches, rivers and waterways. It was therefore no surprise when the temporary closure of the Buccoo Reef Marine Park was announced from March 24. While the reason for this closure was dictated by the government’s decision to restrict public gathering, there is another tremendously positive impact. It allows this ecologically important area to recover from years of human activities, which have led to environmental stress and degradation. After decades of overuse, misuse and an overall lack of effective management, this period of closure may b

Stepping up to the New Normal

Sometimes, only the wildest ideas can take us out of ourselves with courage to face the gravest challenges. Pat Ganase resorts to “blue sky thinking” with practical supports from marine scientist, Dr Anjani Ganase. The people of Tobago may – at this point – be relatively unscathed by Covid-19. The economy is in shambles but we have health! We are fortunate that our leaders closed borders early; and we have not imported any infected persons for four weeks. With the prioritized restart of commercial and industrial activities (announced by the Prime Minister on May 9, 2020), borders may open with caution after the end of June.   Many Tobago hotels have been posting friendly messages on their web pages about travel restrictions and re-booking; about extra care in cleaning procedures and sanitization. Will this messaging cut it to bring international visitors this far south on the Caribbean archipelago? What about the countries that are our markets? Unfo

The Green and Blue Vision for Tobago

  Dr Anjani Ganase has referred to the green economy and the blue economy as appropriate for small islands. Here, she explains the concepts of Green and Blue The Green economy is an economy that is aligned with the health of the environment. It is based on the deep understanding that human beings are fundamentally reliant on the environment for lives and livelihoods. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, our healthcare, are dependent on our natural ecosystems. Unfortunately, at the moment we do not budget environmental degradation – carbon emissions, land clearing, chemical discharge - into human activities. To our detriment, we bear the brunt of the impacts; annually over three million people worldwide die from air pollution (WHO); and we are using way too much resources without replenishment. To shift to a green economy, we need to first reduce excessive or inefficient consumption of natural resources by instilling more sustainable pract