Community-Focused Listening Tour to Inform Future of Ocean management

Residents are invited to participate in a series of community meetings this month and next to provide input into how Montserrat’s oceans will be managed in the future. These meetings will be co-hosted by Government officials and the Waitt Institute as part of Blue Halo Montserrat’s ongoing island-wide Listening Tour.

“Without community consultations conservation planning will not reflect stakeholder concerns and interests,” explained Blue Halo Montserrat Site Manager Ms. Robin Ramdeen. “The Blue Halo Initiative is committed to participatory ocean governance, and takes pride in supporting our Caribbean island partners in developing comprehensive ocean zoning plans which are informed by community inputs and are locally appropriate”.

The meetings, to be held in community centers and other public spaces around the island, are an opportunity for residents, fishers, divers, coastal businesses, and environmentalists to raise and discuss their concerns and priorities regarding use and protection of ocean resources.

“In Montserrat, consultations are always one of the best first steps that can be taken towards a successful project outcome” explained the Honorable Claude Hogan, Minister of Environment. “We welcome the Waitt Institute’s impressive approach to combining one-on-one consultations together with group sessions as part of the Blue Halo Initiative on Montserrat” he added.

The meetings will inform the beginnings of policy change on Montserrat by highlighting community concerns. One-on-one interviews will be the other core component of the Listening Tour, to gain more detailed input from individuals.“Listening to the community is a critical first stage in the development of policies that balance protection of the sea with protection of the livelihoods and culture that also depend on the sea,” added Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Executive Director of the Waitt Institute.

Since September, two consultation meetings have been held, with Montserratian fishers as well as the farmers association. Meetings will continue to be held across the island, through the end of the year. The next few meetings will be:

· Davy Hill Action Group, 16th November

· Rotary Club, 17th November

· Drummonds Group, 18th November

For more information or to set up interviews, contact:
Robin Ramdeen, Site Manager Montserrat
ramdeen.robin@gmail.com, 664-496-8189

Waitt Institute: The Waitt Institute endeavors to ensure ecologically, economically, and culturally sustainable use of ocean resources. The Institute partners with governments committed to developing and implementing comprehensive, science-based, community-driven solutions for sustainable ocean management. Our goal is to benefit coastal communities while restoring fish populations and habitats. Our approach is to engage stakeholders, provide the tools needed to design locally appropriate policies, facilitate the policymaking process, and build capacity for effective implementation and long-term success.

Blue Halo Initiative: A “Blue Halo” describes the waters encircling an island where ocean resources are used sustainably, profitably, and enjoyably. The Institute partners with governments, communities, and scientists to create and implement policies, including sustainable fishing and comprehensive ocean zoning. The Institute provides the toolkit, and partner governments provide the political will. The Blue Halo Initiative deeply engages stakeholders through a science-based, community-driven approach.

To learn more about what people in your community are saying, follow the Waitt Institute’s updates on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Additional information and resources:

Waitt Institute: http://www.WaittInstitute.org

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