Coral reefs are important to Barbados’ coastal environment as they encourage biodiversity and balance in the ecosystem.
Leo Brewster, director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, issued this timely reminder during the launch of the International Year of The Reef (IYOR) 2018 at the Bellairs Research Institute, Folkestone, St James on Wednesday.
He explained that apart from strengthening global awareness and understanding of the critical threats posed to coral reefs and the associated ecosystems, one of the major objectives of the year will be to generate both practical and innovative solutions with a view to reducing those threats.
In this regard, Brewster pointed out that management and maintenance of coral reefs has “for the most part always been the role of Government”.
However, he called on the private sector, academia and civil society in general to also play their part in protecting the island’s marine life.
Delivering the feature address, Amy Apprill, who is a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, suggested that there was “a lot of potential resilience” within the coral reef community.
However, she said it was currently nothing short of a “nightmare to study this system”.
“Sometimes it’s really challenging for us to get permits to do our research and to get the sample sizes we need to do our studies and so we understand, we don’t like to remove coral either, but it is really critical,” the scientist said.
“The second thing is I rarely get management agencies asking me anything about my science. So asking us to communicate about what we are learning, even if we don’t know it yet, and here it is applicable at this time, allowing us to have that conversation, is really important,” she said.