Marine Resilience refers to the ability of our marine and coastal ecosystems to recover ( “bounce back”) and even resist the impacts of hazardous events, such as hurricanes, storms, sea-level rise and warming events to name a few. Building resilience of these essential ecosystems will in turn reduce our (communities of Tobago) vulnerability to climate-related disturbances.
Ensuring that the ecosystems maintain a healthy biodiversity and are capable of carrying out crucial ecological functions and sustaining essential services
Healthy biodiversity means great redundancy in our ecosystems such that they can adequately deal with the imminent threat of climate change, stochastic events like hurricanes or anthropogenic problems such as land-based sources of pollution. This is crucial for maintaining our more sensitive habitats such as coral reefs and seagrass meadows.
Healthy stocks of key ecological players including corals, seagrasses, and their associated fauna contribute to maintaining ecosystem health. For example, on coral reefs parrotfish graze on algae, while green turtles graze on seagrasses, maintaining cropped meadows for better productivity.
Where chemical and nutrient pollution remain below an acceptable threshold in order to maintain the integrity of coral and seagrass habitats.
Active interventions from regular users and stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of sensitive coral reef and seagrass ecosystems. Interventions include facilitation of reproduction, minimization of anthropogenic impacts and recovery activities in the event of a disturbance.
Community partnerships are probably the most essential step in building marine resiliency. It is the intention of project Marin Tobago to actively engage user groups, local communities and interested parties to become stewards of their environment.
The vision of MARIN, Tobago is to create healthy and resilient Tobago marine ecosystems in the face of a myriad of threats. This can only be successful through national coordinated action in restoration, nature-based management strategies and the involvement of local stewards in the resilience network.
In the pilot year, MARIN Tobago will focus on assessing feasibility of coral and seagrass rehabilitation strategies at specific sites given their current ecological state, existing disturbances, methodologies and management practices. During the pilot, IMA will explore suitable methodologies for seagrass restoration and coral propagation in Tobago; one that maintains biodiversity and continues to support livelihoods. The second objective is to sensitize local population on the importance of coral reefs and seagrasses and the need for active restoration efforts in the hope that this will garner community support for sustainable restoration and active management efforts.
The next phase is coordination of trial restoration and management at priority sites.These will inform activities at other sites with the end goal being a national restoration and management plan. In tandem with ecological resilience, is social resilience as project Marin seeks to build community partnerships to help achieve its objectives.