May 20, 2012
Consisting of over 3,000 islands, islets and cays, and covering an area of over 14,000 square kilometers, the nation of the Bahamas contains several priceless marine habitats, and thus has been designated by Dr. Earle as one of Mission Blue’s global Hope Spots. In cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, the expedition will be concentrated in the Exuma Cays, a Marine Protected Area that has been managed as a no-take marine fishery reserve since 1986, allowing populations of commercially important species such as queen conch, Nassau grouper and spiny lobster to thrive. Sea turtles and sharks swim throughout coral reefs teeming with marine life.
|(c) Mark Godfrey/TNC
Joining us onboard will be Eleanor Phillips, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Northern Caribbean program. She will offer her unique insights about the current situation for the marine ecosystems throughout the Bahamian islands and across the wider Caribbean.
The Exumas are home to Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the first land and sea park in the world. Also in the Exumas chain is one of the newest marine protected areas in the Bahamas, Conception Island National Park. Dr. Earle and her team will be exploring both, and offering us their insights and perceptions as the expedition proceeds.
With ongoing threats of booming tourism, climate change, pollution, and over harvesting of fish and other marine species in some areas of the Bahamas, continuing work needs to be done to raise awareness for even more protection. Hopefully, the area’s pristine reefs, uninhabited islands, miles of white beaches and the clearest water in the world, will be preserved and continue to support Bahamians and attract visitors for many generations to come. Stay tuned here for more as our expedition progresses from May 21-28!