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NEPA keeps watch on Pedro Cays

Published:Tuesday | March 1, 2016 | 11:09 PM
Birds swarm fishermen on the Pedro Cays.

Efforts are to be made by the Natural Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to put in place firm measures to ensure that a viable and sustainable environment is maintained on the Pedro Cays.

News on the effort was disclosed by chief executive officer of NEPA, Peter Knight, at a recent heads of agency and departments meeting held at the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.

Knight reported at the meeting that after reviewing a quarterly report from his environmental officers detailing the status of the cays, there was indication that solid waste was again increasing.

"I sent (the report) off to the Ministry of Agriculture ... so we are still awaiting a response," he said.

Knight informed that the planned meeting with the ministry was a precautionary one, intended to ensure that standards on the cays are monitored and maintained, and that solid waste is managed and strategies put in place and regulated for collection and safe disposal.

The Pedro Cays are a collection of mostly uninhabited islands and islets, covered by vegetation and six species of plants.

They are frequented by fisherfolk, primarily from the southern parishes of the island, who make their livelihood from fishing and related activities, an industry worth up to US$30 million annually.




The cays also support a variety of marine habitats, including sand, coral reefs, deep reefs and sea grass beds.

In late 2012, following a visit to the cays by the media, it was revealed that toilet facilities were insufficient, and there was a lack of running water and a significant pile-up of garbage on Middle Cay.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries provided funding of $34.5 million from the Fisheries Management Development Fund to deal with the management of the cays. This also included $16.6 million for solid waste management.