#TurksandCaicos, August 18, 2017 – Providenciales – Now we know the value of our environmental beauty to the country’s economy, it was revealed today by the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Heritage and Culture to be $45.5m per year. The US dollar value of natural resources on a year to year basis comes following an AGGRA Reef Assessment conducted in May by a contracted firm, Wolfs Company which is based in Bonaire and Amsterdam.
In that media release, it was made clear that the tens of millions in value our coral reefs and other natural habitats bring to the number one industry, tourism is not counting the definite value the ecosystems bring through coastal protection, local recreation and fisheries. Another reality to which the Ministry was awakened by Wolfs Company, was how much should actually be invested when it comes to managing and protecting these natural resources.
It was explained that at least 1.8% of tourism related revenues should go to agencies like #DECR; which equates to about $1.1m each fiscal year. Director at DECR, Ethan Griesbach shared: “A relatively small incremental investment in the financing of the organizations responsible for the natural resources of TCI would contribute significantly to improve the management and protection of essential natural capital. DECR would encourage further use of Natural capital valuation by TCIG to further demonstrate the value of nature to TCI’s economy in planning and development strategies for TCI.”
The meetings, which had the key findings from 2015-2016 research presented revealed also that our coral reef cover in some areas is decreasing, while there are some strides which have most likely come from a ban on fishing of the Parrot Fish. To be sure though, the recently installed Director at DECR agrees that assessment of the general the health of the coral reefs will demand a new baseline survey of all the sites assessed back in 1999.
Other notables from the meeting, which was supported by the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), were suggestions to improve the long-term financing for monitoring and nature management in Turks and Caicos, including potential sources of revenue and legal mechanisms to guarantee that these funds will be only used for nature management.