Moore Bahamas Foundation Sponsors Workshop Sessions
The names sounded like the star-studded marquis of marine scientists, but the celebrities of maritime conservation weren’t fishing for attention, they arrived in Nassau June 10 for day-long intense workshop sessions aimed at creating a plan to save the declining grouper population in The Bahamas.
The National Nassau Grouper Conservation Strategy Meeting was spearheaded by the Bahamas National Trust and sponsored by The Moore Bahamas Foundation, an affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation. For nearly eight hours today, local experts and scientists and conservationists from as far away as Cayman and New York participated in presentations on the status of the grouper population, experience from the Cayman Islands, priority research needs and an overview of current local regulations and management. Those presentations led to discussions of future efforts, including education and the development of a 5-year strategic plan for management.
According to Bahamas National Trust spokesman Lynn Gape, the gathering made possible by The Moore Bahamas Foundation could make a real difference in the survival of the fish that has earned its place on the podium of culinary arts in The Bahamas, sharing its stature with conch and crawfish.
“We are very excited about these strategic meetings,” said Ms. Gape. “The Bahamas is fortunate to still have grouper and conch populations that with care and planning will be able to continue to be harvested sustainably. The research needed on which to base management decisions is crucial to this sustainability. The opportunity to bring together committed conservation professionals and scientists and advocates like Craig Dahlgren and Guy Harvey is an amazing opportunity for The Bahamas. Bahamas’ young conservation professionals like Krista Sherman, Lindy Knowles and Vanessa Haley-Benjamin will be our future leaders in marine conservation and will have valuable input for these meetings as partners in current research and drivers of future research.”
The Moore Bahamas Foundation sponsored the event in part because of the commitment to saving the species and partly because of the opportunity it created for young environmentalists.
“It is our hope that this workshop will be the impetus for a revived and intensive movement to manage the Nassau grouper population in The Bahamas before it is too late and the species is completely depleted as it is in almost all other waters in the region,” said Foundation founder, <http://www.moorecharitable.org/index.php/about-us/louis-bacon/> Louis Bacon. “The distinctive Nassau grouper with its large mouth and speckled striped body is essential for the balance and life cycle of coral reefs in The Bahamas as we know them.”
The Foundation also stressed the importance of participation of the young marine explorers and students who are specializing in studying the marine life.
“These impressive young professionals and students are the future of marine conservation in The Bahamas,” said Ann Colley, Executive Vice President of the Moore Bahamas Foundation. “It is a fabulous opportunity for them to be able to interact with scientists who have earned their place in the annals of research and to be in meetings with local experts and people of the stature of acclaimed international marine scientist and artist Dr. Guy Harvey and research scientist Dr. Craig Dahlgren. We at the Moore Bahamas Foundation believe events like this are worthwhile not only because of the information exchange, but because of the lasting impact on commitment to conservation.”
Following the working sessions, Dr. Harvey hosted a showing of his documentary, Mystery of the Grouper Moon, filmed over seven days in Cayman. More than 100 persons were expected to attend that evening event at Old Fort Bay. It was also sponsored by The Moore Bahamas Foundation.
The Moore Bahamas Foundation was founded by philanthropist and hedge fund manager Louis Bacon, who was awarded the National Audubon Society’s highest medal for conservation in January. In April, Forbes magazine named Mr. Bacon one of the world’s greenest billionaires and last week an organization named Colorado Open Lands lauded his efforts in protecting 21,000 acres of ranchland through a conservation easement, cementing an important link in one of the last great protected areas of the American West. Bacon has helped protect more than 200,000 acres over the past 20 years and has helped to rescue or restore historic treasures, rivers and other waterways.
By: Diane Phillips & AssociatesBNT, marine biology