The new Silver Sands hotel currently under construction along the Grand Anse Beach continues to generate thought-provoking debate, especially as it relates to the negative environmental implications and social impacts for members of the community and stakeholders, who were consulted on the development of a plan to effectively manage the Grand Anse Marine Protected Area (GAMPA).
The recently established GAMPA is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.
As part of the development process, stakeholders were consulted and a management plan, which is now unfolding, was developed.
Interestingly, THE NEW TODAY understands that the beach and the corresponding developments along the shore are not subjected to the restrictions associated with the MPA as the boundary line is delineated along the low tide water mark.
Of significance, is the fact, that while the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA), the Marine & Yachting Association of Grenada (MAYAG) and the Grenada Scuba Diving Association were a part of the stakeholders consulted on the MPA, the brunt of the sacrifice in mitigating the effects of the protected area falls on the average Grenadian.
For example, the seine fishermen are now required to cast their nets in the area directly in front of the new Silver Sands development.
However, one fisherman told THE NEW TODAY in an interview last week Friday that he is in disagreement with the designation, because nestled there in the water, is a grass bed that provides a habitat for small fishes to reproduce.
It is the view of this fisherman that pulling seine in the area is killing out a lot of small fishes and also destroying the reef, thereby defying the purpose of the MPA.
Additionally, he said boatmen are now required to catch fish only in the waters from Quarantine to Point Saline, which poses significant challenges for the older fishermen, as at times the water can be significantly rougher in that area.
In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY on Monday, owner of “The Fish Shop” in Grand Anse, Ingram Harford who is also considered to be an all-round fisherman/diver, shared the same concerns as expressed by his fellowman.
Harford also drew this newspaper’s attention to plans for the erection of a jetty in the same area, as part of the development of the Silver Sands hotel.
He made this observation from a drawing displayed during a slide presentation at a recent stakeholder consultation, which he was a part of.
“If a jetty is going there, then we are damaging the grass bed and if you allow the seine to continue to cast there (then) that’s another problem because the whole idea of having an MPA is to create an environment for an increase in the fish population, which is getting more scarce and to protect the reefs et cetera…and we want it to be in abundance”, he said.
The small businessman also disagrees with the privilege afforded to yachters to birth at an MPA, including overnighting, a frequent activity, especially at the Moliniere MPA, while locals are not afforded the same privileges.
“I believe there should be no yachts overnighting in the MPA (because) there is nobody there to monitor them and who is to say that they are not doing illegal activities (there) such as line and spear fishing, as well as the harvesting of lobsters and anchoring while they are there.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the waters from Point Salines, right up to the Moliniere MPA, are under the management of officials attached to the Port Louis Marina, a major yachting hub on the island.
Speaking at a GAMPA Stakeholders Forum on May 25, 2017, Minister of Fisheries, Alvin Dabreo noted that “the very things we have come to love and cherish from our coastlands as are with other ecosystems are threatened by our very actions.
He said, “We pollute otherwise foul our waters, we deforest our lands, we over fish or fish destructively, overuse and encourage coastal erosion.
“Each and every one of us have a scared responsibility to protect and conserve what the good Lord has so richly endowed upon us,” he told the forum.