The Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, hosted a 1–week MPA Summer camp from 11 to 15 July, for 29 students between the ages of 9 and 13. The participants in the MPA summer camp came from communities surrounding established MPAs including Woburn–Clarkes Court Bay MPA, Molinere–Beausejour MPA, as well as the proposed Grand Anse and Gouyave MPAs.
During the closing ceremony held on Friday 15 July, Minister responsible for Fisheries and Forestry Hon. Alvin Dabreo said that he was extremely pleased to see such young kids interested in protecting the marine environment and that marine protected areas are extremely important to our fishing industry.
This year’s coordinator of the summer camp program, Ms Roxanne Graham, stated that “the program aims to instil in children living within MPAs, a sense of appreciation for the area and to learn good practices for conservation of the marine environment.” It is the intention that through the children, homes and ultimately the communities would be more aware of the functions and importance of MPAs and coastal ecosystems. Mr Joseph Noel, Project Officer of the Ridge to Reef Project, who also attended the closing ceremony stated that “it is crucial that we understand the importance of enhancing, sustaining, and regenerating what we already have”.
The program featured visits to Woburn mangroves, farms in the Beausejour watershed that illustrate good agricultural practices, Ocean Spirits at Bathway beach, and Molinierre–Beausejour MPA via a glass bottom boat. The campers of the program were able to receive hands-on experience and listen to experts as they related the ridge to reef effect in reality. Essentially, the children were able to comprehend that anything we as humans do on land, ultimately has effect on our beautiful sea and all its resources. Mrs Marilyn Austin Cadore, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, responsible for Fisheries & Forestry expressed her satisfaction with in the program’s growth over the past 3 years.
The MPA Summer Camp was funded by the Ridge to Reef and ECMMAN Projects.