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Small Caribbean Island Shows Bold Ocean Leadership: Barbuda Overhauls Reef and Fisheries Management for Sustainability

On August 12th, Barbuda Council signed into law a sweeping set of new ocean management regulations that zone their coastal waters, strengthen fisheries management, and establish a network of marine sanctuaries. This comes after seventeen months of extensive community consultation and scientific research supported by the Waitt Institute. With these new policies, the small island…

To Save Coral Reefs, Start With Parrotfish

  Coral reefs are very complex ecosystems, but luckily managing them sustainably is not. Simply don’t catch fish faster than they reproduce, don’t damage the corals or pollute the water, reduce atmospheric CO2, and protect some areas as marine reserves. That’s easier said than done, and it’s not news. What is new is that an…

Bad Weather, Weird Parrot Fish Fact, and More

Bad weather puts the pressure on the team to get the day’s underwater surveys done, but there’s still time to relate a weird-but-true fact about where sand comes from.

Listen to Your Elders: Words From Barbudan Fisherman Larkin Webber

I was putting up posters in Barbuda for an upcoming community consultation meeting about Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative, when I had the pleasure of meeting Larkin Webber. Mr. Webber, now 75 years old, has fished in Barbuda’s waters his entire life. He became a full-time fisherman in 1976. He raised seven children on fishing. He has seen…

New Caledonia Expedition: An Army of Giant Parrotfish

Today we dove at Astrolabe Reef, a remote coral atoll northeast of New Caledonia. So far it’s the best place we have explored. In our dives today we’ve seen everything one hopes to see: sharks, groupers, Napoleon wrasse, bright red old sea fans, and many other gorgeous animals. But the most impressive sight – and…

Assessing Barbuda’s Ecosystems – What’s Under the Water?

Before making changes to ocean management, it helps to know something about the status of living creatures and ecosystems you’re trying to use sustainably. So, nine marine biologists* (plus me makes ten) descended on Barbuda in May to conduct an ecological assessment of the fish, coral, lobster, conch, and water quality within 3 miles of…

Caribbean Nations Must Think Bigger and Act Boldly and Soon to Sustain Ocean Resources

I was honored to be asked to speak at the Caribbean Challenge Initiative’s Summit of Political and Business Leaders, which took place in the British Virgin Islands May 17th and 18th. (See AP story for an overview of the event.) I spoke from the heart, and here is what I said: At the risk of…

Listen to Your Elders: Wisdom from Papa Joe, Barbuda’s Oldest Fisherman

This past weekend I spent an afternoon with Barbudan fisherman Josiah “Papa Joe” Deazle and his family. 82 years old, still fishing, lucid, and so wise. I interviewed him as part of the Waitt Foundation’s Barbuda Ocean Initiative, and it was an honor. He was in the midst of his children and grandchildren who jogged his memory and…

Celebrating the Launch of the Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative

How do you publicly launch an island-wide ocean zoning initiative aimed at sustainable use of ocean resources? A party with a steel band, of course. Or better yet, two parties. The Blue Halo Initiative diplomatic launch celebration (photo album, press coverage) took place aboard the Waitt vessel, anchored a few hundred meters off Barbuda’s coast. It…