Environmental Policy News

Curaçao Teams with Waitt Institute to Develop Sustainable Ocean Policies

Ocean management in the Caribbean will leap forward this year thanks to a new partnership between the government of Curaçao and the Waitt Institute. This collaboration is part of the first wave of geographic expansion of the Institute’s Blue Halo Initiative, which started on Barbuda in 2012.

“We’re thrilled to be building relationships that emphasize science and community priorities,” said Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, executive director of the Waitt Institute, regarding the memoranda of understanding signed with the government. “Barbuda was just the beginning of a Caribbean-wide effort to rebuild fisheries and improve coastal livelihoods.”

The Blue Halo Initiative in Barbuda led to groundbreaking, comprehensive new laws for the coastal waters around the island. Repeating those efforts with Blue Halo Curaçao will raise the bar for sustainable ocean policy around the world.

“This Initiative is about creating a new status quo for how we use the ocean,” said Ted Waitt, Founder and Chairman of the Waitt Institute.

“It’s challenging. It takes commitment and requires teamwork between government, scientists, fishermen, and the broader community. But if we work together, we can create an elegant solution that will pay benefits for all stakeholders for generations to come. Getting this right is critically important for the Caribbean’s food security and way of life.”

“Barbuda set a new standard for comprehensive ocean management in the Caribbean,” said Johnson. With this initiative expanding, it’s an exciting time to be a fish -- and a fisherman -- in these communities.”

Honorable Dr. Bernard Whiteman, Minister of Health, Environment and Nature said, “We are convinced that ocean management is the future of our existence, not only for fisheries but for our health. The ocean is something we have to cherish and protect very well.”

“The Blue Halo Initiative coming to Curaçao will allow us to design and trial entirely new management approaches to protect Caribbean reefs," remarked Dr. Mark Vermeij, Science Director of Curaçao’s Carmabi Foundation.

Mr. Faisal Dilrosun, Senior Advisor on Health, Environment and Nature for the Curaçao government, describes the initiative as “a unique opportunity to create an up-to-date policy for ocean use for the many users, stakeholders and community of Curaçao, which will result in sustainable and responsible use of our marine resources.”

Curaçao has one of the healthiest coral reefs in the Caribbean, and this initiative aims to keep it that way. Remarked Johnson, “My heart soars when I envision the Caribbean coastal way of life thriving as a result of the bold commitments these islands have made to use the ocean without using it up.”

For more information, visit curacao.waittinstitute.org.

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