Marine Stakeholders Want In!
The inter-sectoral meeting was held on August 15th, 2017 with (15) participants, chosen by their sectors to represent the group. They hailed from the Fishers, Divers, Day Cruisers, Sailors, Swimmers Watersports and Hoteliers.Discussions were extremely lively with stakeholders being strongly engaged and with a collective desire to be included in the management of the BMMA. The report of the meeting is in the process of being completed and will be sent to the Ministry of Environment.
While there much debate, the following points were clear:
Support for the designation of the BMMA
All stakeholders, with the exception of Fisherfolk were in favour of designating the Barbados Marine Management Area (BMMA) and agreed that it would be important to delineate areas for specific activities. While the Fisherfolk were extremely wary about the designation, they did see the importance of better management of the area.
Support for Co-Management with an NGO
All stakeholders objected to a government-only managed BMMA, with the majority of participants insisting that the BMMA should be co-managed with an NGO. There was consensus in that regardless of the group that Co-Managed with Government, it should prioritise conservation over revenue generation.
Support for User Fees, which must feed directly back into conservation activities.
All groups supported the idea of user fees, as a means of generating income for the BMMA (with the exception of one sector). The idea of guests contributing to the conservation activities via this route was agreed upon.
MERCICOR (Compensation Workshop)
Blue finance, with support from United Nations Environment (UNEP) hosted The Coastal Environmental Impact Assessment and Biodiversity Compensation & Mitigation: MERCICOR training session, in Barbados, August 24th-25th 2017. Training was carried out primarily by Dr. Sylvain Pioch, supported by Connie Bersok and Angelique Brathwaite.
Integration of Compensation and Biodiversity Offsets Mechanisms into the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is a much needed, yet poorly understood and utilized procedure in the Caribbean. The workshop aimed at introducing and refining this concept as well as training participants in one methodology of determining compensation, called MERCICOR.
The sessions were based on an adaptation of the recent French Initiative for Coral Reefs (IFRECOR) guidelines on EIAs. It deals with 2 aspects (i) how to conduct adequate Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in coral reef ecosystems and how to design/implement/monitor compensation schemes for impacts of development. The guide was developed for the training of environmental officers, practitioners and developers in the French West Indies and includes a description of the practical steps involved in conducting EIAs in different development situations and ecological contexts. In addition, recommendations for the avoidance and reduction of damage are presented and a comparison made of the most recent methodologies employed to calculate compensation for damage on coral reefs and associated ecosystems (mangroves, seagrasses). Finally, a theoretical model for the calculation of compensatory measures called “MERCICOR” was developed and presented in the guide that was used by the participants.
The workshop was slated for 20 persons, but interest was so high that 32 public servants attended on Day 1 and 28 on Day 2 from the following agencies:Coastal Zone Management Unit – Ministry of Environment & Drainage, Environment Division – Ministry of Environment & Drainage, Town and Country Planning Development Office, Prime Minister’s Planning Unit – Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Division – Ministry of Agriculture, National Conservation Commission – Ministry of Environment & Drainage, Ministry of Transport & Works and Department of Energy
On Day 1, participants were taken through EIA basics, Mitigation Hierarchy and Equivalence Assessments, introducing the MERCICOR method. A presentation was also given on the UMAM method on which MERCIOR is based. This presentation, given by Connie Bersok, also went into some details of the practical issues faced when utilizing the method in an American Court of Law. Participants were introduced to MERCICOR and taken though the example of a case in the Reunion Islands. Day 2 saw the participants working through a fictitious case set in Barbados, where they determined what the compensation would be, for the building of an off-shore island.
There was much lively debate, which also revealed many issues faced in the conducting of EIAs. The MERCICOR method was seen as an efficient way to determine compensation (which is not currently legislated) with a few tweaks to tailor it for Barbados. Of particular importance, was the willingness of the town planners to work with the trainers to define this, with the idea of using a project on island. This still requires the approval of Department heads, but a small task force has been set up to drive the process.
Blue finance is working with local NGO, ECCO in Barbados, under a GEF Small grant to train Fishers to monitor their own catches using a Catch per Unit Effort protocol. Fishers are understanding the importance of collecting their own data,so that they can have an effective voice in management decision of the shared resource. To date 9 Fishers are involved in the programme, 5 pot (reef) and 4 spearfishes. The fishers are recording their catches and weights in the area proposed for designation of the Management Area…so prior to designation and the programme is expected to continue during