Tasheka Lavann with Ayana

Thank you to ABS for providing an opportunity to share information about the Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative with the people of Antigua & Barbuda. Thank you to Tasheka Lavann for asking great questions. The setting on the shore of the Codrington Lagoon -- critical nursery habitat the economically important lobster, snapper, and grunt fisheries -- could not have been more appropriate.

Blue Halo is law in Barbuda

 A sweeping new set of strict fishing regulations for Barbuda, including the introduction of five no fishing zones, were, yesterday (Tuesday), signed into law. Once gazetted, the protocols will come into legal effect.

“This will definitely benefit the people of Barbuda, and Antigua as well,” Arthur Nibbs, Chairman of the Barbuda Council and Fisheries Minister said in a statement released by the Waitt Institute.

The guidelines introduced under the Blue Halo Initiative, which is a partnership between the non-profit Waitt Institute and the Barbuda Council, come after 17 months of consultations and scientific research.

The Blue Halo plan has attracted criticism from fishermen in Barbuda, including by those who say more should be done to restrict foreign fishermen before placing limits on Barbudans.

Director of the Barbuda Research complex John Mussington criticised the initiative for being too narrowly focused on restricting fishing and ignoring other factors affecting marine life, such as climate change and rising sea temperatures. He also faulted the plan for failing to find avenues for alternative income for fishermen while the marine life rebounds.

How One Marine Biologist Works to Save Our Oceans

Barbuda is a serene Caribbean island with a small, vibrant community. However, in recent years, Barbuda's coral reefs have taken a turn for the worse and its fish populations have plummeted.

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a PhD graduate from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and Executive Director of the Waitt Institute, selected Barbuda as the pilot for the Blue Halo Initiative because of the government and local community’s willingness to work toward a stronger, more sustainable ocean management plan, including the creation of no-take sanctuary zones.

“Barbuda’s economy and culture depend on a healthy ocean,” said Johnson. “Barbudans understand what’s at stake and want to improve the way their waters are managed, so the Waitt Institute and I were eager to support them.”

Thus, the Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative was born. Under this initiative, the Waitt Institute, an organization that partners with governments to “empower communities to restore their oceans,” supplied the Barbudan government and community with the tools needed for sustainable ocean management.

The Institute’s chairman and founder, Ted Waitt, started his success by co-founding computer software giant Gateway, Inc. He was named by Business Week as one of America’s 50 most generous philanthropists, and has worked vigorously in his endeavors of ocean conservation, through both the Waitt Foundation, which funds conservation efforts, and the Waitt Institute, which undertakes its own conservation projects.

Collaboration for Sustainable Ocean Regulations in Barbuda

Barbuda is a serene Caribbean island with a small, vibrant community. However, in recent years, Barbuda's coral reefs have taken a turn for the worse and its fish populations have plummeted.

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a PhD graduate from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and Executive Director of the Waitt Institute, selected Barbuda as the pilot for the Blue Halo Initiative because of the government and local community’s willingness to work toward a stronger, more sustainable ocean management plan, including the creation of no-take sanctuary zones.

“Barbuda’s economy and culture depend on a healthy ocean,” said Johnson. “Barbudans understand what’s at stake and want to improve the way their waters are managed, so the Waitt Institute and I were eager to support them.”

Thus, the Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative was born. Under this initiative, the Waitt Institute, an organization that partners with governments to “empower communities to restore their oceans,” supplied the Barbudan government and community with the tools needed for sustainable ocean management.