Minister of Natural Resources and Labour, Hon. Vincent Whetely has promised to protect magove comunities by providing legal coverage under the new environmentally sensitive species legislation.
"The replanting of mangroves cannot replace the loss of healthy mangrove communities that are destroyed with unauthorised reclamation projects and other activities," Hon. Wheatley told the House of Assembly on Thursday, April 29.
He recalled that Governmet restated intent to introduce environmental legislation this year and in that legislation, there will be the creation of Environmentally Sensitive Species, which will be afforded a higher degree of protection.
"I pledge that one of the first species to be listed, once the legislation is passed, will be mangroves. This resource must be protected from further loss and to that effect, Government will put in place measures to ensure its long-term survivability. Mister Speaker, these collective efforts represent a united approach to ensure that mangrove habitats are restored throughout the Territory. Their importance in ensuring coastline stability and to act as habitat for biodiversity and fisheries cannot be overstated," Hon. Wheatley stated.
According to Wheately, the goal of planting 1000 mangroves in 1000 days has not only been met, but now surpassed. He said it does not mean that 'we will relent in our efforts'.
"To the contrary, we will redouble them by expanding the list of areas that will be replanted over the next months," Minister Wheatly shared.
The Minister noted that several community groups including the Youth Empowerment Project, Rotary and others have planted 860 seedlings at Sea Cow's Bay, Frenchman's Cay, a damaged section of Paraquita Bay and Beef Island.
He said that the Caribbean Sustainable Fisheries provided an additional 290 seedlings, which will be out planted in North Sound, Jost Van Dyke and the Nanny Cay areas.
Accoriding to the Minister, in partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Ministry, HLSCC and the National Parks Trust, assessments for the feasibility of restoration across the Territory have been carried out during the first quarter of the year and operational plans for restoration of mangroves are underway for all four major inhabited islands with funding support provided by the UK’s Darwin Plus Initiative.
"Through this growing Territory-wide movement, feasibility for the addition of localised mangrove seedling nurseries have been carried out in Anegada and Virgin Gorda," The Minister stated.