Showing posts from November, 2020

No Unwanted Gifts!

  We’re just a month away from one of the most widely celebrated seasons in the year. Coral reef ecologist Anjani Ganase suggests some ways to a more conscious observance.   If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we urgently need to change our relationship with nature. The over exploitation of natural resources has exposed us (and a significant number of animal and plant species) to debilitating diseases, devastating wildfires, deadlier hurricanes and mass die off of coral reefs and decimation of fisheries.     Gifts Galore! This typical sight on Christmas Day can be replaced with eco-friendly gift wrapping and thoughtful gestures. Photo by Pat Ganase     There is no part of the world that hasn’t been littered by plastic waste – from the highest peak of Mt Everest to the greatest depths of the Marianna Trench. Unfortunately, there still is a notion that the solution to the problem does not reside in our hands, and we continually have to be reminded by the next generation

Personal Choices protect Island Biodiversity

Can you live without eating beef? What about that semi-stray cat that gets your table scraps?   Faraaz Abdool, author of Casual Birding in Trinidad & Tobago, discusses some personal choices that, taken collectively, can make a difference to the island’s biodiversity. All photos by Faraaz Abdool                       Isn't she cute? Isn't she lovely? Don't be deceived, these lovable pets can be lethal in your backyard! Convenience in the short term can have damaging impacts in the long term. As consumers, we hold the ultimate power in the chain of supply and demand. The consumer decides what is worthy of investment and what’s not. Corporations may seem untouchable in their endless pursuit of profit, but we can shift our attention to local entrepreneurs when we are making our purchases. We have the responsibility of knowing where our food comes from, and this includes all fruits, vegetables, snacks, grains, even coffee and chocolate. Farmers who are proud to grow fo

How Marine Protected Areas Restore Fisheries

Fish stocks are dwindling the world over. Dr Anjani Ganase discusses how well-managed Marine Protected Areas help to protect nurseries.   All fisheries are in decline; trends in the Caribbean mirror the global statistics.   There is emerging a consensus on strategies for improving fish stocks by ensuring conservation and protection of marine ecosystems.   The solution is a holistic approach based on the establishment of “no take” marine reserves, also known as fully protected Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) where there is no fishing, recreational or commercial, allowed. We may be surprised by the solution, as many consider closing areas to fishing would reduce the fishing grounds available to the fisherfolk thereby limiting the catch. Yet, the opposite proved true, the development of well-designed and fully protected MPAs would improve overall fish catches in surrounding areas even more effectively than a fisheries management plan. So how is this possible?       Large as they are,

The Man and the Biosphere: next steps

­­ Last week it was announced that Trinidad and Tobago was awarded the Man and the Biosphere Designation from the UNESCO, identifying northeast Tobago as a biosphere reserve. Dr Anjani Ganase, marine scientist, looks at what it means and the implications for Tobago.   The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme was established during the 1970s by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization), during the decade of a series of pivotal global environmental movements towards environmental policy and concerted efforts to monitor and conserve our natural resources for the sake of our livelihoods. The MAB Programme recognises that human wellbeing and conservation are interlinked and aims to improve livelihoods as a means to safeguard our natural ecosystems.     Aerial View of Hermitage Tobago, where the Main Ridge meets the ocean. Photo Courtesy Richard JackJames                                                         Fishing boats on the b