Coastal Zone sign in Barbuda
CODRINGTON, Barbuda — Last week, Barbuda Fisheries completed the demarcation of Barbuda’s coastal sanctuaries. This marks an important milestone in the island’s efforts to manage and protect its marine resources.
Over the last three months, a team consisting of Barbuda Fisheries, the Codrington Lagoon National Park, Maurice Underwater Services and the Waitt Institute installed 27 buoys and 15 signs on water and land to mark the boundaries of Barbuda’s marine protected zones. These zones stem from a law passed in 2014, when the Barbuda Council established coastal sanctuaries, no net zones, and anchoring zones around the island.
The Barbuda Council established the protected zones to sustainably manage important marine habitats. The reserves allow fish and lobster populations to replenish and spillover into nearby areas that remain open for fishing.
“By designating protected areas, Barbudans have taken a bold step in managing their natural resources. They have protected critical habitats such as the Codrington Lagoon that is home to an immense fish and lobster nursery as well as significant area of coral reefs including Palastar Reef. We look forward to seeing the ecological and fisheries benefits in years to come,” said Andy Estep, Waitt Institute science and field manager.
In order for sanctuaries to protect the marine environment, complying with the Barbuda’s coastal zones is key. The team from Barbuda Fisheries installed buoys and pilings to ensure that no fishing areas, no net zones and anchoring sites are clearly marked.
“It is important that fishermen and boat captains understand where protected areas exist, so buoys and marked pilings have been installed in the water and on land,” Estep explained.
Doug Beazer, who heads-up Barbuda Fisheries, added, “Sea operators can no longer claim ignorance as an excuse. You can’t say you didn’t know, because now there are clear signs.”
Sanctuary areas where no fishing can take place are marked with a yellow buoy with blue bands. Areas where no mooring or anchoring is allowed have yellow buoys with a green band, and areas where nets are prohibited have yellow buoys with a red band. Additionally, shipping lanes are marked with red/green buoys.
A map has also been created to visualize protected zones around the island.
“We encourage anyone fishing or boating in Barbuda’s waters to get the boat card that shows where Barbuda’s coastal zones are located,” said Blue Halo Barbuda site manager Robin Ramdeen.
She added, “Honouring Barbuda’s protected areas will help a lot to sustain the local fisheries.”