IN THIS ISSUE

Letter from the Executive Director

Launching the Blue Prosperity Coalition

Blue Azores: Protecting 150,000 sq. km in the Azores Archipelago

Blue Halo Montserrat: Finalizing a Marine Spatial Plan

A letter from the Executive Director

Dr. Kathryn Mengerink, JD

2019 is already off to a running start in the world of ocean conservation. The Waitt Institute team has been working around the clock to improve the way we work with governments and communities to effectively protect ocean ecosystems and economies.

We recognize that we don’t have much time left to protect ocean resources. That’s why we helped to form the Blue Prosperity Coalition, a global network of partners uniting to advance marine protection and sustainable growth of Blue Economies. In March, we attended the Economist’s World Ocean Summit in Abu Dhabi to announce the launch of this movement. We were joined with government partners from our sites the Azores, Barbuda, Curaçao, and Tonga, and more than 12 representatives from our Blue Prosperity partners. This union of so many brilliant and effective organizations will help us make real plans to move toward the UN goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030.

 

Another exciting milestone is the launch of the Blue Azores Program, a partnership between the Regional Government of the Azores, the Waitt Institute, and the Oceano Azul Foundation. Through the project, we will work to designate and implement 150,000 sq. km of new no-take Marine Protected Areas in Azorean waters.

 

We are also making strides in our established projects. Tonga just designated 3 new Special Management Areas (SMAs), which are community driven and enforced areas. Montserrat has chosen their Marine Spatial Plan, protecting 30% of signficant habitats. Curaçao establisehd an underwater marine park and is working on designating 5 new marine protected areas. Barbuda is getting back to fisheries enforcement and monitoring. We are also excited to be bringing on 5 new expert staff members to help us expand our projects.

Successful Launch of the Blue Prosperity Coalition

Government officials, ocean experts, and NGOs joined together to launch the Blue Prosperity Coalition during the Economist World Ocean Summit in March. The coalition is a network of global partners to advance sustainable ocean use by balancing marine protection with economic development.

 

“No one person, no one entity can save the oceans, but if we work together this is a problem we can fix,” said philanthropist Ted Waitt, founder of Waitt Institute.

 

The Blue Prosperity Coalition is built around five key principles - (1) Our oceans need URGENT protection, (2) We can improve both the ENVIRONMENT and the ECONOMY at the same time, (3) At least 30% OCEAN PROTECTION is required, (4) Protection is best achieved via COMPREHENSIVE, science-based plans in consultation with key stakeholders, (5) Working together with committed Government leadership, we can achieve SUSTAINABLE and PRODUCTIVE oceans.

 

Founding members of the Coalition include the Waitt Institute, National Geographic Pristine Seas, Oceans 5 and Dynamic Planet, as well as government partnerships with the Azores, Barbuda, Curaçao, and the Kingdom of Tonga.

 

Join the coalition: info@waittinstitute.org. 

Azores to establish 150,000 square kilometers of

new Marine Protected Areas

The Blue Azores program is part of a larger effort by the Azores’ Regional Government to promote marine biodiversity, dedicating 150,000 square kilometers of new marine protected areas that cover 15% of the Azorean Exclusive Economic Zone. Over a six-year period, the Program will create and legally adopt an enforceable marine spatial plan, develop and implement management plans for protected areas, and implement a blue literacy program for schools and the community.

“The vision and leadership of the Regional Government of the Azores is why we are here” “With this path to Blue Prosperity, the Azores can be global leader in advancing both marine protection and growing the blue economy” said Ted Waitt, Founder and Chairman of the Waitt Foundation and Institute. “Our partnership will accelerate the Azores' efforts to improve the long-term prosperity of the people while safeguarding the unparalleled marine resources that make the Azores unique.”

Blue Azores is the newest partnership in the Blue Prosperity Coalition. The coalition is a network of global partners to advance sustainable ocean use by balancing marine protection with economic development. Founding members of the Coalition include the Waitt Institute, National Geographic Pristine Seas, Oceans 5 and Dynamic Planet, as well as government partnerships with the Azores, Barbuda, Curaçao, and the Kingdom of Tonga.

The Regional Government of the Azores is taking a big step towards sustainable ocean management through a new partnership with the Oceano Azul Foundation and the Waitt Institute. On February 28th, 2019, the project partners launched the Blue Azores program to strengthen marine conservation and the sustainable use of ocean resources in the region.

 

Blue Halo Barbuda Forges Ahead Amid

On-Going Setbacks From Hurricane Irma 

On the evening of September 7th 2017, as the eye of the unprecedented 185+ mph storm, laid its gaze on the small Caribbean Island of Barbuda, Waitt Institute’s Blue Halo Initiative pilot island, we all stayed awake, eyes glued to screens, waiting for word from anyone in our office in the Barbuda city of Codrington.

 

Waitt Foundation Managing Director, Jacob James and Waitt Institute Executive Director, Kathryn Mengerink, wasted no time in strategizing a year-long Barbuda hurricane recovery mission. When the storm hit, the conservation team at Waitt switched gears and immediately came to the aid of our island partners, establishing the Barbuda Recovery and Conservation Trust in partnership with San Diego based International Community Foundation.

 

Through the Barbuda Recovery and Conservation Trust we helped Barbudans from many angles, providing supplies to shelters, holding informational community sessions, providing political support, and serving as liaisons with other relief organizations. We brought 5 trained San Diego lifeguards to provide medical assistance and to begin the cleanup immediately. While the emergency travel ban was still in effect, the lifeguards lived on Barbuda and begun clearing debris from the elementary school and museum buildings, as well as assisting Barbudans in cleaning their homes.

Marine Spatial Planning

 

The Blue Halo Initiative (BHI) is a working collaboration, established in 2012, between the Waitt Institute, the Barbuda Council, the office of the Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, Codrington Lagoon National Park officials, and the people of Barbuda. The final zoning for protection of Barbuda’s waters extends to the limit of the Barbuda Council’s jurisdiction, 3.45 miles from shore, and has resulted in improved management with a whopping 33% of Barbuda waters now designated as protected areas. This area includes five marine sanctuaries, four anchoring/mooring zones, three no-net zones, and one shipping zone. Additionally, in this area, parrotfish and sea urchins are fully protected, sharks are partially protected, and a Coastal Advisory Committee will soon be established to further coordinate.

Fisheries Compliance & Enforcement

 

The goal of the year-long fisheries compliance and enforcement project is to streamline MPA enforcement, and enhance acquiescence with existing regulations among fishers from Antigua, Barbuda and abroad. Both components are critical to ensure the effectiveness of the regulations and marine protected areas. Specifically, the project seeks to:

1.    Assess the status quo of illegal harvests and enforcement activities.

2.     Identify barriers to complying with regulations.

3.     Identify strategies to improve compliance & enforcement in

        Barbuda’s waters.

4.     Foster collaboration among enforcement agents.

5.     Create stewardship for regulations among fishers and enforcement

        agents.

Hurricane Recovery & Sustainable Finance

On the evening of September 7th 2017, as the eye of the unprecedented 185+ mph storm, laid its gaze on the small Caribbean Island of Barbuda, Waitt Institute’s Blue Halo Initiative pilot island, we all stayed awake, eyes glued to screens, waiting for word from anyone in our office in the Barbuda city of Codrington.

On the evening of September 7th 2017, as the eye of the unprecedented 185+ mph storm, laid its gaze on the small Caribbean Island of Barbuda, Waitt Institute’s Blue Halo Initiative pilot island, we all stayed awake, eyes glued to screens, waiting for word from anyone in our office in the Barbuda city of Codrington.

word from anyone in our office in the Barbuda city of Codrington.

Partnership with Government of Curaçao Helps

Blue Halo Curaçao Thrive

During the last quarter of 2018, an addendum to the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Curaçao’s Ministry of Environment Nature and Health to designate 30% of Curaçao’s waters as marine sanctuaries as part of the Blue Halo Curaçao program. 

 

In 2019, the Waitt Institute expects to continue to work closely with the Government of Curaçao and community stakeholders to establish the regulatory framework for an ecological marine spatial plan that includes the designation of near-shore protected areas and adoption of an offshore sanctuary.  

 

The ecological marine spatial plan will bolster the Blue Halo Curaçao program’s ability to support a Curaçao Sustainable Ocean Policy that focuses on sanctuary zones and fisheries regulations.  Several stakeholder consultation meetings will be held in the upcoming months to engage local community members in discussions about ocean uses in Curaçao’s waters, fisheries reproduction zones, and the marine spatial planning process. 
 

 

Vava'u Ocean Initiative- Bridging Gaps in Fisheries Enforcement

With the implementation of community managed fisheries, or special management areas (SMAs), communities are learning the critical roles of compliance and enforcement. Tonga’s ocean areas were deemed as open access for many years to enable fair sharing of resources for all Tongans. However, in recent years, the increasing battle to fish for the table has impacted the sustainability of Tonga’s ocean resources. Communities witnessed the decline in productivity of their oceans, but were unsure of what could be done to restore Tonga’s fisheries. 

 

Now that SMAs and near-shore management is being legally granted to communities, the attention has turned to enforcement and compliance of these protected areas. Communities need the appropriate tools, capacity building and resources available to ensure the proper management of the SMAs.

 

Currently, the tools for enforcement are human intensive, relying on community resources such as boats for SMA monitoring. The Vava’u Ocean Initiative is aiming to ease the strain on community resources by introducing simple equipment as a pilot for aiding in enforcement of the SMAs. Pilot equipment such as night vision binoculars that can record video and photos can aid in the court prosecution of SMA infringements. Tools like these are critical to many communities who have limited vessel access to coastal areas, but still need to effectively and efficiently manage their coastal areas and fisheries.

 
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