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IMA > Updates O&CPRP

World Tsunami Awareness Day 2023: Fighting Inequality for a Resilient Future

By Christopher Alexis, Oceanography & Coastal Processes Department Annually, the 5th November is celebrated as World Tsunami Awareness Day (WTAD). Events, activities and drills are organised globally, as a reminder of the ever-present threat of tsunamis. This is especially important where the frequency and intensity of natural disasters are increasing and impacting coastal communities. The theme of WTAD 2023 is “Fighting Inequality for a Resilient Future”.  A Global Call to Action The United Nations highlights the global need for preparedness, such as early warning systems and disaster risk reduction strategies. Tsunamis may be caused by an underwater earthquake, landslide, or volcanic eruption and on rare occasions, by...

Grande Riviere Beach Shifting – A dynamic coastline that requires coastal zone planning

By: Christopher Alexis and Isabelle Chen Grande Riviere Beach is located on the scenic north coast of Trinidad and gets its name from the large river that empties into the Caribbean Sea at the eastern end of the beach. It spans approximately 1.2 km in length and is curved with varying beach widths (Figure 1). This Beach provides an important habitat for marine and coastal wildlife.  It is one of the most important nesting sites for the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), which has been declared vulnerable on a global scale by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and World Wildlife Fund...

View of the room during opening plenary (Photo by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis)

The BBNJ Agreement – a win for the Ocean and Multilateralism

By Dr. Kahlil Hassanali, Senior Research Officer, Institute of Marine Affairs “The ship has reached the shore.” This was how Her Excellency Rena Lee, Ambassador of Singapore and President of the Intergovernmental Conference relating to an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (The BBNJ Agreement), announced that delegations had finally agreed on a treaty text. After nearly twenty years of talks on the matter, five years in an Intergovernmental Conference setting, two weeks into the resumed fifth session of that Conference, and thirty-eight hours over the scheduled deadline during which time delegates bunkered...

acid ocean

Acid Oceans

“Sometimes our strengths lie beneath the surface … Far beneath, in some cases” (The Ocean, 2016). Well not exactly a quote by the ocean itself. I am intentionally being a bit cryptic, because these words make more sense in the context of the movie they were taken from, Moana. Moana is the Maori word for ocean. The Maori being the native peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand. The belief system of the Maori holds nature in very high regard. The kinship between humans and the environment in Maori culture is expressed through kaitiakitanga, a way in which the environment is respected and managed, something that...

1. French Grunt, Haemulon flavolineatum Schooling reef fish get their name from the grunting noise they make by grinding their teeth together as a form of communication. Photography by Jonathan Gomez

World Oceans Day 2022 – Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever’ Jacques Cousteau The economic and social value of the ocean to individual communities and societies is incalculable.  It is where we work, we harvest food, we pray and we play. Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, believes that we all have a “blue mind.” He described this phenomenon as “a mild meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment,” which is triggered when we’re in or near water. Mathew White, an environmental psychologist who studied how living near...

Rip Currents! We must Exercise Caution on our Beaches!

By Christopher Alexis, Researcher, Oceanography & Coastal Processes Department Trinidad and Tobago’s beaches have been re-opened after a lengthy closure because of the COVID -19 pandemic. Our citizens may once again enjoy the coastal waters that surround our twin island republic. Notwithstanding our love for the sea, the Institute of Marine Affairs strongly advises that the public exercise caution on the nation’s beaches, particularly over this Easter weekend, as our heightened excitement may reduce our awareness of the coastal environment. During the year from an oceanographic perspective, there are the summer (May to October) and the winter (November to April) periods. The summer months have characteristically...

Let us Empower ourselves with sound Information for 2022! – A Transparent and Accessible Ocean with Open Access to Data, Information and Technologies

by Paul Nelson and Lorraine Barrow There is something about the start of a new year that can bring a whiff of green optimism and a breath of fresh ocean air.  It affords us the opportunity to pause and revisit occurrences and experiences of the past year and make new resolutions.  One thing that stood out in 2021, against a backdrop of the unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic, were the extreme weather events signaling that climate change is REAL! As the year 2022 gets into its stride with new year resolutions, let us include self-empowerment with sound information and data to go GREEN as we make every...

A Safe Ocean

Coastal communities and ocean users operate within a dynamic environment, faced with a range of ocean hazards that are both natural and human-induced. These can have a significant impact on marine environments and can result in loss of life and livelihoods. Risks of exposure to ocean hazards therefore require assessment, forecasting, mitigating, adaptive responses and policies to mainstream resilience towards ‘A safe ocean where life and livelihoods are protected from ocean-related hazards’ - Outcome 5 of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021 - 2030....

A Predicted Ocean

Why do we need to predict the Ocean? Does it seem like reports of storm surges; rough and rising seas, coastal flooding and erosion are more pervasive today than ever before? These climatic conditions and phenomenon have always existed and have been understood for a long time, so why is it so topical now? This could be due to a number of factors, but high on the list would be the fact that the world is now more dependent on the ocean than ever before. Globally, the oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 3 billion people depending...

IMA conducting coral reef surveys

BUILDING OCEAN RESILIENCE

A healthy and resilient ocean is one that is readily able to return to a healthy state following disturbance events or even resist the impacts of the disturbance depending on its severity. For example, healthy mangrove forests can effectively reduce the damages of severe storm surge because the thick interconnected root systems stabilise the shore and reduce wave and wind forces. The same root systems create a well-protected refuge for nurseries. Real estate, homes and properties inland are protected by mangrove forests. When healthy forests are damaged, their density might still sustain the habitat and its hydrodynamics as well as provide for regrowth. Similarly,...