Showing posts from March, 2021

Benefits of the Man and Biosphere Reserve

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

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

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

Birding from Soldado to Saint Giles

Faraaz Abdool tells us why birders love our islands. All photos courtesy Faraaz Abdool   The mind of the travelling birder is constantly roaming, searching for new destinations packed with incredible species. Whether it is to add to an ever-expanding list of species observed in the wild or to immortalize the feathered creatures in photographs and videos, most birders are well acquainted with the myriad of species on offer within the tropical forests around the world. It can safely be said that countries like Colombia – with a mind-boggling tally of 1,878 species – rank high on the bucket list of nearly every birder. The number of bird species in a particular country is always relative, however. Colombia is a massive territory and there are many logistical hurdles to navigate regarding travel within the country. Which brings the question of species density to the fore. Looking at birds through this lens elevates certain other countries to the top of the pile. The tiny islands maki