The Fish

Oceanic Research Group - Mangroves: Nurseries of the Reefs (c) 1999 Jonathan Bird

The mangrove is a nursery for juvenile fishes and invertebrates of many species. In the protection of the calm sheltered waters of the mangroves where larger predators cannot find them, the juvenile fishes find ample food and safety. When they mature, they may head out into the more dangerous reef areas to find mates or pursue their hidden fishy agenda. …

Currently, the Caribbean is losing mangroves at a rate of about one percent per year. Most of the loss is on mainlands (like Venezuela, Columbia and Panama) rather than islands, although the Bahamas have lost nearly half their mangroves in the past ten years. People sometimes lament the loss of pretty mangroves, but rarely do they realize just how hard the destruction impacts the reef and the shoreline. Loss of mangroves effects not just mangrove fishing, but productivity on the reefs as well.

The Birds

BirdLife International - First New World Little Egrets under threat on Barbados 17-07-2007

The first colony of Little Egret Egretta garzetta in the New World, and its home, the last significant red and white mangrove swamp in Barbados, are at risk from deteriorating habitat quality and threatened development.

Marshlands within the Graeme Hall Swamp –a Ramsar wetland of international importance which holds the last significant mangrove woodland and largest lake in Barbados- were recently put up for sale for potential “environmentally appropriate commercial operations”.

The Beaches

Environment and development in coastal regions and in small islands - Conserving reefs

However, human beings pose probably the greatest threat to corals. Silt resulting from offshore dredging, the removal of mangroves and vegetation clearing can literally smother a reef. Ships’ anchors cause physical damage and sometimes divers may damage or break off pieces of coral simply by touching the delicate corals with their fins. Pollution, whether large-scale resulting from sewage or small-scale from water draining a field treated with pesticides, poses another threat to corals.

It may take many years before the damage to a coral reef is manifest on the beach. If a reef is lowered by one hurricane, it may not be until the next tropical storm or hurricane that the reduced breakwater effect is evident through heightened beach erosion.

Barbados Government Source Agrees

Coastal Zone Management Unit: MANGROVE SWAMP ECOSYSTEMS

In Barbados, there are few remaining mangrove swamps. The largest viable mangrove stand is found at Graeme Hall Swamp on the south coast. … There are other locations along the coast where mangroves may be found (e.g. Holetown, Speightstown, and Sandy Lane). However, these are nowhere near as extensive as those found in Graeme Hall Swamp. …

Mangrove swamps are a source of biological productivity in terms of fisheries, aquaculture and forestry as well as ecosystems of biological diversity, since they function as genetic reservoirs and habitats for migratory waterfowl and marine species.

Disastrous Action by Barbados Government

Barbados Free Press: Barbados Government Steals 2/3 Of Parkland For Developer Friends – Graeme Hall Environmental Disaster Continues

After being elected in January, 2008 one of the first acts of the David Thompson DLP Government was to change the law protecting 265 acres of parkland at Graeme Hall to allow developer friends to profit from these public lands. To make this happen, David Thompson and the DLP Members of Parliament had to set aside laws that had protected the land from development since 1988. When the government was finished, 2/3 of the parkland (175 acres) was gone.