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Government collaborates with and join The Waitt Foundation’s Blue Halo Initiative

Signing of MOU

Signing of MOU

Finished pics (4)On Friday, February 20, 2015 The Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo and the Honourable Minister Claude Hogan with responsibility for Agriculture, Trade, Land, Housing and the Environment, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the

Waitt Institute to include Montserrat in its Blue Halo Initiative of coastal and maritime preservation and fisheries management.

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson a marine biologist is the Executive Director of the Waitt Institute, who endeavors to ensure ecologically, economically, and culturally sustainable use of ocean resources. The Institute partners with governments committed to developing and implementing comprehensive, science-based, community-driven solutions for sustainable ocean management.

The MOU was also signed on behalf of the Institute by Dr. Johnson whose mission is to collect, create, actualize and amplify the best ideas in ocean conservation. The goal is to benefit coastal communities while restoring fish populations and habitat, where their approach is to engage stakeholders, provide the tools needed to design locally appropriate policies, facilitate the policymaking process, and build capacity for effective implementation and long-term success.

Waitt - Blue-Halo-Initiative-launch-Montserrat

Waitt – Blue-Halo-Initiative-launch-Montserrat

Prior to the signing Dr. Johnson told the audience gathered for the occasion, “This collaboration is the first geographic expansion of the Institute’s Blue Halo Initiative, which started on Barbuda in 2012.”

She noted, “The Blue Halo Initiative in Barbuda led to a series of robust, new laws for the coastal waters around the island. Repeating those efforts with Blue Halo Curaçao and now Blue Halo Montserrat will raise the bar for sustainable ocean policy around the world.”

 

Under the project, the Government of Montserrat and the Waitt Foundation will collaborate in developing and codifying a Sustainable Ocean Policy for the island, including ocean zoning, sanctuary zones, and fisheries laws and regulations

At the signing, Minister Claude Hogan said “Conserving our ocean resources is a priority for our Government working in the interest of our citizens, and the support of the Waitt Institute will enable us to realize this.”

Meanwhile Montserrat’s Chief Fisheries Officer, Alwyn Ponteen remarked on the occasion, “Partnering with the Waitt Institute will support Montserrat in developing the skills and resources necessary to ensure that our ocean remain healthy and productive for future generations.”

“This Initiative is about creating a new status quo for how we use the ocean,” said Ted Waitt, Founder and Chairman of the Waitt Institute. “It’s challenging. It takes commitment and requires teamwork between government, scientists, fishermen, and the broader community. But if we work together, we can create an elegant solution that will pay benefits for all stakeholders for generations to come. Getting this right is critically important for the Caribbean’s food security and way of life.”

Director of Agriculture Melissa O’Garro added, “The Ministry of Agriculture welcomes this timely partnership with the Waitt Institute and looks forward to collaborating with the Institute and our stakeholders to develop a thriving sustainable fishery while ensuring our ocean remain pristine into the future.”

Dr. Johnson informed during her presentation, “The state of most Caribbean reefs and fisheries is dire, but the policy solutions are simple,” she said. “My heart soars when I envision the Caribbean coastal way of life thriving as a result of the bold commitments these islands have made to use the ocean without using it up.”

FOLLOW-UP AND ACTIVITIES

Since the MOU signing, the Waitt Institute was on Montserrat last week working on the next steps of Blue Halo Montserrat. Andy Estep, Waitt Institute Science Manager, spent the week in and on the water SCUBA diving on reefs around the island.

While typical signs of coral reef degradation were present, Estep was pleased to see a high level of biodiversity and signs of growth and recovery among the coral reefs and fish populations of Montserrat. Estep and the Institute’s Program Manager, Stephanie Roach, briefed Minister Hogan, the Director of Agriculture, Melissa O’Garro, and Chief Fisheries Officer, Alwyn Ponteen, on their initial findings, and discussed future research needs and plans and next steps for Blue Halo Montserrat.

Of interest to local fishermen, reportedly, the dive team also removed 43 lionfish from the reefs during their diving activities. The result sees special thanks to Captain Shawn O’Garro for providing a safe and efficient research platform and sharing his local expertise to assist the Waitt divers in identifying dive locations that matched the needs of this research. Also special thanks went to SCUBA Montserrat for coordinating with our team.

Meanwhile on that visit Stephanie Roach, Waitt Institute Program Manager, also met with Permanent Secretary of Education, Philip Chambers, and Director of Education, Glenn Francis, as well as primary and secondary schools to see how the Waitt Institute can be of assistance and support ocean education on Montserrat. This will include both classroom education as well as hands-on experiences in the field.

She coordinated with local education and outdoor groups to explore the possibilities of setting up kids ocean summer camps that will include snorkeling, field trips, games, and many educational activities.

In a release it is reported: “A new framework for sustainable ocean management is in the works in the Caribbean, thanks to a collaboration between the governments of Barbuda, Montserrat, and the Waitt Institute.  The Waitt Institute’s legal staff from the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) traveled to the islands last week to craft the next steps of the groundbreaking Blue Halo Initiative.”

On Montserrat, ELI lawyers Dr. Kathryn Mengerink and Read Porter, met with Director of Agriculture Melissa O’Garro; Chief Fisheries Officer Alwyn Ponteen; Attorney General Keith Friday; Governor’s Office Communication Liaison, Richard Aspin, and members from the Policy and Planning Department, Montserrat National Trust, Physical Planning Unit, and Environment Department.

 

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Signing of MOU

Signing of MOU

Finished pics (4)On Friday, February 20, 2015 The Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo and the Honourable Minister Claude Hogan with responsibility for Agriculture, Trade, Land, Housing and the Environment, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the

Waitt Institute to include Montserrat in its Blue Halo Initiative of coastal and maritime preservation and fisheries management.

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Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson a marine biologist is the Executive Director of the Waitt Institute, who endeavors to ensure ecologically, economically, and culturally sustainable use of ocean resources. The Institute partners with governments committed to developing and implementing comprehensive, science-based, community-driven solutions for sustainable ocean management.

The MOU was also signed on behalf of the Institute by Dr. Johnson whose mission is to collect, create, actualize and amplify the best ideas in ocean conservation. The goal is to benefit coastal communities while restoring fish populations and habitat, where their approach is to engage stakeholders, provide the tools needed to design locally appropriate policies, facilitate the policymaking process, and build capacity for effective implementation and long-term success.

Waitt - Blue-Halo-Initiative-launch-Montserrat

Waitt – Blue-Halo-Initiative-launch-Montserrat

Prior to the signing Dr. Johnson told the audience gathered for the occasion, “This collaboration is the first geographic expansion of the Institute’s Blue Halo Initiative, which started on Barbuda in 2012.”

She noted, “The Blue Halo Initiative in Barbuda led to a series of robust, new laws for the coastal waters around the island. Repeating those efforts with Blue Halo Curaçao and now Blue Halo Montserrat will raise the bar for sustainable ocean policy around the world.”

 

Under the project, the Government of Montserrat and the Waitt Foundation will collaborate in developing and codifying a Sustainable Ocean Policy for the island, including ocean zoning, sanctuary zones, and fisheries laws and regulations

At the signing, Minister Claude Hogan said “Conserving our ocean resources is a priority for our Government working in the interest of our citizens, and the support of the Waitt Institute will enable us to realize this.”

Meanwhile Montserrat’s Chief Fisheries Officer, Alwyn Ponteen remarked on the occasion, “Partnering with the Waitt Institute will support Montserrat in developing the skills and resources necessary to ensure that our ocean remain healthy and productive for future generations.”

“This Initiative is about creating a new status quo for how we use the ocean,” said Ted Waitt, Founder and Chairman of the Waitt Institute. “It’s challenging. It takes commitment and requires teamwork between government, scientists, fishermen, and the broader community. But if we work together, we can create an elegant solution that will pay benefits for all stakeholders for generations to come. Getting this right is critically important for the Caribbean’s food security and way of life.”

Director of Agriculture Melissa O’Garro added, “The Ministry of Agriculture welcomes this timely partnership with the Waitt Institute and looks forward to collaborating with the Institute and our stakeholders to develop a thriving sustainable fishery while ensuring our ocean remain pristine into the future.”

Dr. Johnson informed during her presentation, “The state of most Caribbean reefs and fisheries is dire, but the policy solutions are simple,” she said. “My heart soars when I envision the Caribbean coastal way of life thriving as a result of the bold commitments these islands have made to use the ocean without using it up.”

FOLLOW-UP AND ACTIVITIES

Since the MOU signing, the Waitt Institute was on Montserrat last week working on the next steps of Blue Halo Montserrat. Andy Estep, Waitt Institute Science Manager, spent the week in and on the water SCUBA diving on reefs around the island.

While typical signs of coral reef degradation were present, Estep was pleased to see a high level of biodiversity and signs of growth and recovery among the coral reefs and fish populations of Montserrat. Estep and the Institute’s Program Manager, Stephanie Roach, briefed Minister Hogan, the Director of Agriculture, Melissa O’Garro, and Chief Fisheries Officer, Alwyn Ponteen, on their initial findings, and discussed future research needs and plans and next steps for Blue Halo Montserrat.

Of interest to local fishermen, reportedly, the dive team also removed 43 lionfish from the reefs during their diving activities. The result sees special thanks to Captain Shawn O’Garro for providing a safe and efficient research platform and sharing his local expertise to assist the Waitt divers in identifying dive locations that matched the needs of this research. Also special thanks went to SCUBA Montserrat for coordinating with our team.

Meanwhile on that visit Stephanie Roach, Waitt Institute Program Manager, also met with Permanent Secretary of Education, Philip Chambers, and Director of Education, Glenn Francis, as well as primary and secondary schools to see how the Waitt Institute can be of assistance and support ocean education on Montserrat. This will include both classroom education as well as hands-on experiences in the field.

She coordinated with local education and outdoor groups to explore the possibilities of setting up kids ocean summer camps that will include snorkeling, field trips, games, and many educational activities.

In a release it is reported: “A new framework for sustainable ocean management is in the works in the Caribbean, thanks to a collaboration between the governments of Barbuda, Montserrat, and the Waitt Institute.  The Waitt Institute’s legal staff from the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) traveled to the islands last week to craft the next steps of the groundbreaking Blue Halo Initiative.”

On Montserrat, ELI lawyers Dr. Kathryn Mengerink and Read Porter, met with Director of Agriculture Melissa O’Garro; Chief Fisheries Officer Alwyn Ponteen; Attorney General Keith Friday; Governor’s Office Communication Liaison, Richard Aspin, and members from the Policy and Planning Department, Montserrat National Trust, Physical Planning Unit, and Environment Department.