The tides are changing – 2023 World Ocean Day

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BarbudanGO hosted educational tours within the Codrington Lagoon National Park (Photos contributed)
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By barbudanGo

Barbuda is heavily considered a fishers’ village due to its daily harvesting of seafood and exportation of conch and lobster when in season.

Recognising the wealth of resources provided by the ocean, we must learn to appreciate our waters around our island. For this purpose, barbudanGO has decided since 2021 to acknowledge World Ocean Day.  World Ocean Day is an internationally recognised day held on June 8 to encourage and support the implementation of worldwide sustainable practices to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14 – “Life Below Water”. 

This year, “Planet Ocean: The Tides are Changing” was the theme for World Ocean Day. BarbudanGO hosted educational tours within the Codrington Lagoon National Park. 

Many Barbudans are unaware that the Codrington Lagoon is a national park. Some Barbudans are still unaware that the Codrington Lagoon has been a world-designated Ramsar site since 2005. 

It must be noted that Ramsar sites are designated as being of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, also known as the Convention on Wetlands established by UNESCO in 1971. 

Another fact that some Barbudans are not aware of is that the Codrington Lagoon National Park is also a Marine Protected Area (MPA).  

In Barbuda, 33 percent of the coastal regions are MPAs. MPAs allow the Barbuda Fisheries Division to place limits on human activity, meaning people must use the area in ways that do not damage the environment.

Within the Codrington Lagoon National Park, commercial fishing is prohibited. It is a catch and release zone and particular areas like the bird sanctuary is a no-take zone. 

The Codrington Lagoon National Park tour informed participants, youth and adults about key features within the park. Below are some of the featured stops.

  • AtSucking Hole, participants marvelled when they observed that a small swirling section of fresh water existed within the salt water lagoon.
  • When participants journeyed toThe Breach, the current break on the western sandbar of the lagoon, they came to realise how wide the breach is. This current breach, caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017, is not the first break in the lagoon’s sandbar. Discussions raised highlighted other breaches caused by Hurricane Luis and Hurricane Donna in1995 and 1960 respectively. Considering phenomena associated with climate change, participants discussed the vulnerability of the sandbar and Codrington Village itself, which lies below sea level.
  • The final stop on the tour allowed participants to kayak through a section of the mangrove forest.  At this point, participants were introduced to Barbuda’s second line of defence – the mangroves. They came to realise that mangroves are more than a nursery for our sea life. It was clearly understood that if “tides are changing” Barbuda’s coastal protection depends on thriving mangrove forests.

Much work is still needed to build ocean appreciation and preservation practices. BarbudanGO aims to support Barbuda’s Fisheries Division by giving the local community opportunities to closely observe and appreciate this valuable natural resource. Such experiences are one way to journey to become true stewards of the ocean.

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