This past week has been full of turtle rescues in Barbados, some with less fortunate endings than others. The responses from locals and tourists have been truly remarkable but the divers in Barbados believe these sweet endangered animals need more than just a video to be shared, they need voices to be heard as well. They have started a petition to expand their Marine Protected Areas and ban fishing in the zones frequented most often by turtles.
PADI AmbassaDiver, Andre Miller and his team at Barbados Blue filmed one of their turtle rescues yesterday. “We’ve been fighting to expand MPAs for years without success. We’re hoping the images and footage of our turtle rescues will help motivate the general public to get involved and have their voices heard. Our government should step up if they see we have enough passionate people out there looking to make a difference,” says Andre Miller, Marine Biologist & PADI AmbassaDiver.
“It’s shameful to see so many fishermen blindly dropping hooks where we bring tourists to swim with the sea turtles. Putting fishing lines in front of hungry turtles [in an area they have become accustomed to human interaction and feedings] is not only harmful to an already endangered species but to our tourism industry as well,” adds Kiera Bloom, PADI DiveMaster with Barbados Blue.
The videos and images gathered from this week’s turtle rescues have been shared throughout Barbados and in many other countries around the world. The Barbados Blue team is hoping to use the attention gained from these stories to keep their message alive and motivate their Coastal Zone Management Unit to expand the Marine Protected Areas to include the zones where the turtles visit most often, and where fish nurseries will be most beneficial to the island.
Barbados Blue is a dive shop located at Needham’s point, Carlisle Bay, in Barbados. Their Manager and Director, Andre Miller is an established Marine Biologist and PADI AmbassaDiver. The team at Barbados Blue offers more than scuba certifications and snorkel tours. They lead numerous Dive Against Debris clean-ups, lionfish hunts and are often the first to respond when a marine creature is in need of saving. They work closely with organizations like The Barbados Sea Turtle Project, Coral Reef Restoration Alliance – Barbados, Bellairs Research Institute and the University of West Indies to survey coral transplanting sites, establish coral nurseries and help protect the sea turtles. Find out more at www.divebarbadosblue.com.