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Community : Grand Bahama Last Updated: Jun 6, 2018 - 12:09:31 PM

March organized around ocean protection
By Sarah Kirkby
Jun 6, 2018 - 11:32:45 AM

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Aerial view of beautiful waters in The Bahamas.

Freeport, Grand Bahama – Oceans are the lifeblood of planet Earth. Covering nearly three-quarters of our planet, the oceans of the world hold up to 97% of the planet's water, produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere, and absorb the most carbon from it.  As an archipelagic nation, The Bahamas has and continues to rely heavily on the bounty of our oceans for food and sustenance.

Sadly, that dependence has led to an overharvesting of marine resources, a reduction in biodiversity, and the degradation of marine habitats.  Locally, however, an alliance has been formed between seven of the island’s environmental partners to raise awareness about the need to protect our oceans. The March for the Ocean in Grand Bahama has been planned for Saturday June 9 – just one day after the observance of World Oceans Day and in conjunction with ‘March for the Ocean’ which will take place across the globe.

Spearheading the initiative is one of Grand Bahama’s newest companies, reef restoration firm Coral Vita. The international company whose interests are geared at the preservation of coral reefs in Bahamian waters, is broadening its focus to encourage overall oceanic protection.

These spotted eagle rays are just some of the amazing marine life that exists in the oceans surrounding The Bahamas

“The health of the ocean matters to everyone on land,” explained Coral Vita Co-Founder Sam Teicher. “While the work we do often focuses on coral reefs, we understand that healthy reefs cannot exist in an unhealthy and unprotected ocean. And as reefs power the tourism economy, sustain fish populations for food and sport, and shelter coastlines from storm surges, ocean health matters greatly to the people of Grand Bahama.”

On Saturday, Marchers in blue will converge at the Lion Club lodge location (former Chart-house site) in Freeport with the walk set to begin promptly at 9am headed toward Williams Town Beach, where a brief Ocean presentation, a beach clean-up, bird watch, and walk will take place.

The event will also provide participants with an opportunity to learn about the work of local environmental partners such as Coral Vita, Save The Bays, The Bahamas National Trust, and others including the KGBC Committee.

“We are very excited to be a part of this initiative” said KGBC Committee Co-Chair Nakira Wilchcombe. “As residents, we must be conscious of our actions from land to sea, particularly when visiting coastal environments such as our beautiful beaches, in how we deal with our litter.  Thus, as a committee, we embrace every opportunity to help raise awareness about the protection of our environment and that definitely includes our Oceans and marine resources”.  

Expressing similar sentiments was Rashema Ingraham of Waterkeepers Bahamas, whose organization has been instrumental in the testing of waters in and around The Bahamas as part of its Swim Guide initiative.

“Mother Nature is very resilient, and although she is able to cope with adversity, we as humans, as caretakers of nature, have ignored her for too long.  We have allowed for our oceans to be polluted by plastics, suffocated by oil spills, and watched as our sea-beds and corals have died out because of dredging” she noted. “This March on Grand Bahama is a call to action, a loud clarion call on behalf of our oceans that we must act now. This March will be a turning point for all fishermen, tour guides, beach-goers, coastal community residents, environmental stewards, students, business persons to all stand united together for our oceans that we thrive off and gives a necessary resource so that we can swim, drink and fish.”

Persons interested in participating in the March for the Oceans GB event are encouraged to follow the event via social media at https://www.facebook.com/events/157265635130498/ for more information.

Rashema Ingraham of Waterkeepers Bahamas tests the safety of waters in and around the island of Bimini as part of that organization's swim good program. (Photo courtesy of Waterkeepers Bahamas)

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