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Oil Exploration Not On Agenda Says Foundation

Nassau, The Bahamas –  Oil exploration will not be on the agenda for the Living Ocean Foundation’s scientific team.  Researchers will designate marine protected areas and where planned economic development will have a minimal impact and still be sustainable.

“The results from our research will not directly support any industries.  The results of our research are really for better understanding of the natural environment, so I don’t see any really direct relationship between the objectives of our scientific research and any type of oil and gas industries or any other industry,” said Phil Renault, executive director of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.

“What we’re hoping it will do is to demonstrate the value of the natural resource and so that should fold into some of the decision making that governments will make on uses of these ocean areas.”

Living Oceans researchers chose The Bahamas for its geographical location and because the Foundation previously collaborated on research with the Nature Conservancy on survey projects in Exuma and Conception Island.  The Government used the information they gathered to designate the waters around Conception Island, as a marine protected area (MPA).

“By creating these high resolution habitat maps for use in management, one of the uses of this as a tool is to delineate areas of high importance from a biodiversity stand point, from a health stand point, from other areas,” said Dr. Andy Bruckner, Living Oceans chief scientist.

“I think you can actually use the habitat maps to zone coral reefs and associated ecosystems for multiple uses.  In many other countries, one aspect of a marine protected area is establishing a ‘no take’ area that’s closed to fishing, that’s closed to any sort of extractive activities or anything else that may be damaging to the environment.”

Dr. Bruckner suggests that by knowing where the habitats and most important areas are, any economic development can be planned and executed in a sustainable manner.  Areas can be chosen where impacts are likely to be minimal.

By Gena Gibbs

Posted in Lifestyle

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