Prime Minister and Parliamentary Representative for St George North West, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, is confident that if properly managed, the Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Molinere-Beausejour, can be successful.
MPAs are designated under the Fisheries Act No. 15, 1986. They are intended to ensure the protection of assigned areas and the sustainable use of the resources therein, as part of a wider effort to maintain biodiversity and ecosystem services that can benefit the local community and by extension, the country.
The Molinere-Beausejour MPA, one of 4 in Grenada has been inactive for some time, and the Ministry of Fisheries has now put plans in place to reactivate it. Key to the success of the MPA is its management and the ministry is already looking seriously at this.
At a meeting on the resuscitation of the MPA held Wednesday, Dr Mitchell said, “I believe the MPA can and will work and meet its objectives and the community will benefit, as well as the country. But there must be a serious restructuring of the management, with input from persons at the community level, who can make a very valuable contribution to this initiative. Members of the community must be seen as an integral part of this initiative, as they are among the main stakeholders.”
The Prime Minister cited past challenges which have prevented the MPA from achieving its full potential. However, he said, “It’s time to put the past behind us. We have an opportunity to do something good and that is what’s important. This is not a political issue; we all want something that we can be proud of so let us go forward and do it right.”
Marine patrols in the MPA are expected to resume soon, a company has been contracted to manage the mooring system and there will be a number of landside and water-based initiatives to enhance the area and protect the marine assets. Explaining the rationale for the latest meeting, Minister responsible for Fisheries, Honourable Yolande Bain Horsford said there is need to further sensitise the community on the utilisation of the MPA, translating the initiative into a commercially viable venture and enhancing job prospects for persons within the community.