#East End, GB, December 1, 2018 – Bahamas – Since signing onto the 20/20 Challenge (which commits a country to ensuring that 20 per cent of its marine environment is protected), through Marine Protected Areas, The Bahamas has already covered at least ten per cent of the country’s marine environment.
Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Hon. Michael Pintard said, “It places us in a rare category of countries, who, despite economic challenges, we believe it is absolutely important to protect our environment, because at the end of the day development depends on what extent we, in a very responsible way, benefit present generations, while not compromising the future of future generations.”
Minister Pintard was the keynote speaker during ground breaking ceremonies for the construction of the world’s first land-based commercial Coral Farm Education and Research Centre, in East Grand Bahama on November 29, which is expected to be managed by Coral Vita, a company dedicated to growing corals to restore dying reefs.
Using breakthrough methods developed by advisors at the Mote Marine Lab and Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Coral Vita boasts of the ability to grow corals up to 50 times faster, while strengthening their resiliency to climate change threats.
The company’s commercial land-based farming model offers a viable solution for the large-scale reef restoration crucial to preserving coral reefs for future generations.
In welcoming the Principals of Coral Vita, Minister Pintard said the Government was honoured that they chose to carry out their project in The Bahamas, particularly in Grand Bahama.
“No doubt, you are adding to what is already a very powerful brand in The Bahamas, as a country that is on the cutting edge of conservation in marine and life sciences,” said Minister Pintard.
“You are indeed a part of an initiative by the government to ensure that we behave in a responsible manner, and we are a role model for other countries in the region.”
Minister Pintard also noted that The Bahamas just recently received the Marine Stewardship Council designation, which is significant for the country’s marine sector, as the Bahamas is one of the major exporters of lobsters.
The Minister said the government’s goal is to ensure that it does not lose this prestigious designation, because it demonstrates to the world, as well as multi-national companies who may purchase products from The Bahamas, that country will responsibly harvest marine products, ensure they are processed responsibly way and that at the end of the day, they can trust that The Bahamas is making sure that they are not depleting any species of its marine life.
Also bringing remarks during the ground breaking was Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest.
“The Prime Minister just recently returned from Washington, where he attended a high level meeting with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, talking about climate resilience and how we can build infrastructure to protect our environment,” said DPM Turnquest.
“This project, to me, seems to be a natural option to that, along with the regeneration of the mangroves. These natural defences, while may seem outlandish or scientific from the outset, will provide us with natural defences and cost-effective defences to protect what we have in our country.”
With the Coral Vita project set to be constructed and operated out of East Grand Bahama, DPM Turnquest said that he hopes the project could cause some rejuvenation in the East End community in terms of educational, touristic and economic opportunities in the future.
“This is in line with the Government’s objective with respect to economic development – to diversify our economy and take advantage of the blue economy. This year, we have committed $500,000 towards further exploring opportunities in the blue economy and this project certainly fits within all of that.”
By: Andrew Coakley
Photo Caption: Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest (second from left) and Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Hon. Michael Pintard (left), joined Principals of Coral Vita in the official ground breaking ceremonies for the establishment of the world’s first land-based commercial coral farm, education and research centre, Thursday, November 29, 2018 in East Grand Bahama. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)