The Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) was invited by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) to serve on a Stakeholder Committee for the management of the proposed Buccoo Reef Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).Â Committee members were selected jointly by the Tobago House of Assembly and the Board of Directors of the EMA based on personal or organizational interest and expertise of Buccoo Reef Marine Park and surrounding communities. The committee held its first meeting on October 6th 2004 and is co-chaired by the Director, Fisheries and Natural Resources, THA and the EMA.Â The role of the Committee is to oversee the management of the Buccoo Reef Marine Park and to achieve the Objectives of Designation as stipulated in the Buccoo Reef National Park Notice 2004, in accordance with the Management Plan prepared by the IMA, 1995.Â Dr Rahanna Juman is the IMA representative on this committee.
● Land Reclamation Committee of Trinidad and Tobago
The IMA is a member of the Land Reclamation Committee which was established by Cabinet in December 2006 to review applications for land reclamation and other coastal structures, whilst ensuring that subject to environmental or hazard considerations, all residents of Trinidad and Tobago were granted free access to beach fronts. The Committee’s appointment ended in May 2009 but was re-instated in 2010.
● National Oil Spill Contingency Planning Committee
The National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) Committee is responsible for co-ordinating a timely, effective and measured response to oil spills which occur on land and sea; the protection of the environment is of utmost importance. The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries is the co-ordinator of spill prevention and emergency response planning in Trinidad and Tobago and the IMA has representation on the NOSCP through the Marine Chemistry Department.
The area which the Committee is responsible for includes the land under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and the marine areas as defined by the two hundred (200) mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the Venezuela/Trinidad and Tobago Marine Boundary Treaty of 1986.
As a committee member, the Institute of Marine Affairs tests samples from the site of oil spills using the capabilities of the Marine Chemistry Department’s laboratories. Fingerprinting by Gas Chromatography is one of the methods used to determine the sources of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination. Each report of the findings of these tests is sent to the Environmental Management Authority.
The other key organisations on the Committee are:
- BP Energy Company of Trinidad and Tobago LLC
- Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI)
- Civil Aviation Division
- Environmental Management Authority (EMA)
- Government Information Division (MSD)
- Meteorological Services Division
- Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries
- Ministry of Planning, Housing and the Environment
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources
- National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)
- National Helicopter Services Ltd. (NHSL)
- National Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd. (NP)
- North Post Radio
- Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.
- Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT)
- Solid Waste Management Company Ltd. (SWMCOL)
- Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT)
- Tobago House of Assembly (THA)
- Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard
- Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force
- Trinidad and Tobago Fire Services
- Trinidad and Tobago Police Service
- Trinmar Ltd.
The external agencies are:
- Clean Caribbean Cooperative (CCC)
- International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPEIECA)
- The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd. (ITOPF)
- World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC)
The National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (2001) which is available at the IMA’s Library gives additional details of the plan and the functions of the Committee.
● Regional Activity Centre (RAC) for the LBS Protocol of the Cartagena Convention
The Protocol on the Prevention, Reduction and Control of Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (LBS) (1999) is one of three Protocols developed under the framework Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention) (1986). Trinidad and Tobago is a signatory to the Cartagena Convention and one of six states which have acceded to or ratified the LBS Protocol. Nine accessions or ratifications are required before the Protocol comes into force.
The main objective of the LBS Protocol is to reduce marine pollution from land-based sources and activities, since it has been established that over 75% of marine pollution originates from land-based sources.
The Caribbean Environment Programme http://www.cep.unep.org/
(UNEP-CEP, located in Jamaica) at its Tenth Intergovernmental Meeting in 2002 established two Regional Activity Centres (RACs) for the LBS Protocol.Â These Centres are RAC-CIMAB (Centre of Engineering and Environmental Management of Coasts and Bays in Cuba) and RAC-IMA.
The focus of the Regional Activity Centres is to promote, under the guidance of UNEP/CEP, the application of the LBS Protocol.Â This is done primarily through LBS workshops in other countries and promotional products including brochures and videos.
Under the LBS Protocol states are encouraged to develop National Programmes of Action to prevent or reduce land-based sources of marine pollution.
In 2004, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago established an Inter-Ministerial Committee to coordinate the development of a National Programme of Action (NPA).Â The IMA was the lead agency of this Committee.Â The Committee was reappointed for a two-year period: 2007-2009. This National Programme of Action as well as a Local Programme of Action have been completed and submitted to the Ministry of Planning, Housing and the Environment.
Some of the promotional items produced for the LBS Protocol are listed under Information Centre Publications.
One of the results of the IMA’s role as a Regional Activity Centre and Trinidad and Tobago’s development of an NPA is the development of an IMA/UNEP project: Ecosystem Management for the Integrated Land and Seascape of Northern Trinidad which began in December 2009.
● Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC)
Coral Reef Monitoring for Climate Change Impacts represented one of the nine components of the Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Climate Change Project (CPACC) that was established in 1998. The overall objective was to create a long term monitoring programme to show the effects of global warming factors on coral reefs. Through the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), established by regional governments in 2002, the Mainstreaming Adaptation for Climate Change (MACC) project, with funding from the World Bank facilitated the expansion of the coral reef monitoring network as proposed under CPACC. In September 2007, a regional training workshop was held in St Lucia.Â Participants from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Tobago was trained in site selection, video monitoring and report preparation based on the CPACC video monitoring protocol.Â Â IMA participated in this training workshop and in October 2007 began video monitoring on Speyside Reef in conjunction with the Tobago House of Assembly. The resultant video tapes were processed and analysed at the CMS and the reports prepared in collaboration with the participating countries.Â Reports for the first two years of monitoring (2007 and 2008) are available.
● Caribbean Marine Coastal Productivity (CARICOMP) Programme
CARICOMP is a regional scientific exercise which focuses on monitoring changes in land-sea interaction processes and providing appropriate scientific information for coastal resources managers of the Caribbean region. The work of the Program is centred on the productivity, structure and function of three coastal ecosystems: mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs.
The deterioration of coastal ecosystems remains a major concern for the Wider Caribbean area; these changes have been attributed to anthropogenic forces such as population growth and intense tourism development.
The CARICOMP Program was conceived as a Caribbean-wide initiative to identify the factors responsible for sustaining mangrove, seagrass and coral reef productivity, to examine the interaction between these ecosystems, and to determine the role of terrestrial and oceanic influence on them. Scientific monitoring of these three ecosystems is performed on a daily, weekly and annual basis throughout the region using the same monitoring protocol, as outlined in the CARICOMP Methods Manual.
CARICOMP was launched in 1985 but the network was not established until 1990 and became fully functional in 1993. It is comprised of a network of laboratories, parks and reserves which are committed to conducting the CARICOMP protocol, the Steering Committee and a central data archiving and management centre at the Caribbean Coastal Data Centre (CCDC), University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica (CARICOMP, 2004).
The Institute of Marine Affairs has been involved in the CARICOMP project since the early 1990s and has been collecting productivity data on the Eastern Reef site, Bon Accord mangrove forest and seagrass bed for the past 15 years.Â The data is stored in a Microsoft Excel database at the IMA.Â It is also sent to the Data Management Centre in Jamaica, which is the data repository for this programme.
● Biodiversity Advisory Council
The Council is administered by the Environmental Management Authority.Â Its role is to co-ordinate and oversees recommendations put forward in the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), which was approved by Cabinet in 2001.Â The IMA has had representation on this Council since 2004. During that a time a Manatee Sensitization and Education Programme for Primary and Secondary Schools was launched, as well as the designation of three Environmentally Sensitive Species and three Environmentally Sensitive Areas.Â Prior to this (1998 – 2001), the IMA was a member of the Task Force which formulated the NBSAP.
● International Coastal Clean-up
The International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) takes place annually on the third Saturday in September.Â This is a global initiative of the Ocean Conservancy, U.S.A, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting ocean environments and marine life.Â The ICC is organized locally by a National Planning Committee (NPC).
The IMA is a member of the NPC and as such participates (through the Information Centre) in the International Cleanup activity each year.Â International Coastal Cleanups follow guidelines set by the international coordinators in the sorting, weighing and collection of litter.
The main goal of the exercise is to collect data on marine debris, but it also is to raise awareness of the problem of marine debris to the environment and to bring about drastic behavioural changes with respect to solid waste disposal.Â Additionally, it is hoped that the annual event would effect policy change and decisive action by stakeholders as they address the problem of marine pollution.
Data from this activity is fed into the international data base to assist in developing methods of litter control.