#TheBahamas, April 19, 2022 – Even reef sharks think it’s better in The Bahamas.
That’s the key finding of data compiled by a group of local and international marine scientists after tagging and following 950 reef sharks over a period of 12 years, across six primary study locations in The Bahamas, from Grand Bahama to Eleuthera and The Exumas. While sharks remaining close to home may sound like a good thing for avoiding commercial fisheries exploitation off North America, the long-term dataset revealed new insights into the limited migration and stunted growth of the species.
“Analyzing data from over 950 individual sharks, our results indicate that the Caribbean reef shark may have slower growth rates than previously estimated, underscoring the regional sensitivity of this species,” says Dr. Oliver Shipley, a world-leader in using chemical tracers and movement to understand the role large predators play in connecting marine ecosystems. Shipley has been conducting research in The Bahamas for nearly a decade, initially obtaining his training at the Cape Eleuthera Institute.
“The research showed no evidence of seasonal migration throughout the islands,” said Shipley, who recently signed on as a Senior Research Scientist with the leading marine NGO, Beneath the Waves.
“It is important, however, to reinforce that this species’ populations are actually stable and relatively healthy in The Bahamas, who proactively protected these sharks over a decade ago,” he added. “Because of the stable native population here, we are able to make predictions for other areas where the species is also found.”
Indeed, the findings may be a bellwether for other locations where this keystone species – critical for maintaining healthy populations of small reef fishes – is not protected. The results of this study also highlight the value of long-term research activities.
“Preserving The Bahamas’ status as a shark sanctuary is critical as Caribbean reef shark populations elsewhere in the Americas continue to decline with active exploitation especially South America,” Shipley noted. The findings support large no-take zones in the effort to preserve the vulnerable species given continued exploitation for meat and incidental bycatch.
Publication of the study in March coincided with Beneath the Waves’ announcement of Shipley’s joining the organization full-time.
“Dr. Shipley is highly respected, and knows so much about this ecosystem,” said Beneath the Waves CEO and chief scientist Dr. Austin Gallagher. “Together, we have explored many areas of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and we have done a lot of great science in The Bahamas. To have him join us full-time now as we work to use science to mitigate the effects of climate change and restore native populations of species, will be a great benefit to our ongoing programs and ambitious goals for impact in The Commonwealth and beyond, particularly as we see a growing importance placed on marine science globally.”
Shipley is known for his keen interest in the movement, foraging and nutritional ecology of marine predators. “His approach to conservation is also diverse,” said Dr. Gallagher, who also praised his focus on getting youth and students involved in the research.
“The work of Beneath the Waves is contributing to a deeper understanding of marine biology so that we can collaboratively – and authentically – work with national decision makers to advance strategies needed to keep our coasts resilient to change and restore our oceans to abundance”” said Shipley “This is all possible in the years ahead, and it is very exciting for me to be part of this team that one week is in Exuma in The Bahamas affording school children the opportunity to observe and participate in shark tagging, and the next is in the Red Sea exploring fundamental aspects of the deep ocean. I always like to answer people who say ‘Why do you do this? Why do you risk going down so deep or tagging a live shark?’ To me, that the answer is simple: the planet is 70% water, this is an ocean planet, and the secrets it holds are powerful and inspiring.”
Press Release: Beneath the Waves
Photo Caption: Dr. Oliver Shipley, co-author of recently published paper revealing the importance of The Bahamas archipelago to the long-term population health of the Caribbean reef shark, a regional keystone species, joins leading marine science NGO Beneath the Waves, whose long-term work has called international attention to the marine resources of The Bahamas.
Grand Bahama to be CARGO HUB, as Bahamas & Qatar ink MOU
#TheBahamas, September 29, 2023 – With moves to deepen ties, governments of The Bahamas and Qatar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to solidify agreements in principle surrounding the development of aviation and other related services.
This is according to Chester Cooper, The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation in a Facebook post.
This comes after The Bahamas Government in a press release on September 24th, revealed that Cooper, was set to meet with the head of Qatar Airways to have talks regarding “multiple mutually beneficial aviation opportunities for both countries.”
The release also said the deputy prime minister and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation are working on “forging strategic partnerships with several Middle Eastern countries to strengthen ties to The Bahamas and the Caribbean,” and this new signing is indicative of such efforts.
Following the September 25th signing, on September 27th, Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General of Tourism for The Bahamas informed via Facebook some details of the agreement saying, “we have now established a framework for cooperation and formed strategic partnerships with Qatar Airways, Qatar’s Transport, Aviation and Investment Agencies and The Qatar Aeronautical Academy, that will benefit our country.”
Regarding further efforts for the improvement of The Bahamas, Cooper announced on Facebook again on Tuesday September 26th that both countries are working to make Nassau a passenger hub for Latin America and the Caribbean adding that talks are being held for Grand Bahama as a cargo hub.
Additionally, as the press release informed, Cooper is preparing for an on ground visit of Bahamasair domestic operations by Qatar Airways Technical team sometime in October.
CUBAN MIGRANTS DETAINED ALONG EXUMA CHAIN
Defence Headquarters 28 SEP ’23: HMBS P-45 under the command of Chief Petty Officer Acadia Smith detained a group of Cuban migrants in Cistern Cay, Exuma on September 27, 2023, due to information received from a Good Samaritan vessel in the area that handed them over to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
Members of HMBS P-45 retrieved twenty-eight (28) Cuban nationals and transported them to HMBS Coral Harbour in New Providence. All individuals appeared to be in good health and will undergo further processing and assessment by Immigration officials.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force remains dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in guarding our heritage and appreciates the sharing of information and intelligence provided by the boating community to affect migrants and other unlawful interdictions at sea.
(For additional information, contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our official website at www.rbdf.gov.bs. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and explore our engaging content on our YouTube channel).
CTO mourns the passing of former chairman Obediah Wilchcombe
#BARBADOS (September 26, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) deeply mourns the loss of distinguished Bahamian leader and former chairman of the inter-regional body, Obediah Wilchcombe.
“We extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to Minister Wilchcombe’s family, as well as the government and people of the Bahamas. He was a true champion for the people of the Bahamas and the wider Caribbean region,” remarked Kenneth Bryan, CTO Chairman and Minister of Tourism and Ports of the Cayman Islands.
Chairman Bryan recalled Minister Wilchcombe held the position of CTO Chairman twice (2002-2004 and 2016-2017) while serving as Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas, and contributed significantly to the advancement of sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean.
Chairman Bryan noted that the CTO plans to honor the life and legacy of “this eminent Bahamian leader” at the organization’s upcoming business meetings and the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Turks and Caicos next month.
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