By Friends of the Environment
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s part of Friends of the Environments 2012-2014 Strategic Plan, we are working towards conservation of Abaco’s primary habitat types. By including the best representations of each habitat in protected areas, we are helping to conserve Abaco’s unique biodiversity and support a healthy environment for Abaco’s wildlife and people.
High on the list for conservation is Cross Harbour in South Abaco. Located on the south west coast of Great Abaco, Cross Harbour is one of the most productive tidal creek systems in Abaco and may be the primary nursery area for all of southern Abaco. Scientists have observed at least 73 species of fish at the creek mouth alone – ranging from juveniles of reef fishes (such as angel fish and parrot fish) to large marine transient species such as lemon sharks and spotted eagle rays!
Bahamians have been using the area for years as evidenced by clues from pre-Loyalist settlement ruins, old fishing camps and mid-1900’s remnants from a logging operation. Perhaps with good reason, because as time goes on, we are finding out just how important Cross Harbour is. Already known as a breeding area for nurse sharks and queen conch, it is also under study for its potential as a critical bonefish breeding ground for the Little Bahama Bank.
Fly fishing is an important industry in Abaco – approximately $20 million of The Bahamas’ gross domestic product (GDP) can be tied back to fly fishing charters in Abaco and related expenses generated by flyfishermen. Because of this, and the fact that Abaco guides take great pride in their work and the areas they fish in, the Abaco Fly Fishing Guides Association (AFFGA) has made great strides to be involved in conservation. In fact, AFFGA has proposed to The Bahamas Government that Cross Harbour be designated as a conservation zone to control future development and protect the critical wetland habitat found there. To support their efforts, AFFGA has also become involved in a research project with Bonefish and Tarpon Trust to track the movements of bonefish.
Friends of the Environment supports AFFGA’s proposal and is partnering in the effort to help raise awareness and garner community support. You can help too, by writing letters to The Bahamas government to tell them why Cross Harbour is important to you.
Please address your letters to The Right Honourable Perry Christie, Prime Minister; and mail your letters to Friends of the Environment (see address below). FRIENDS will be compiling a package to send on to the Prime Minister and other relevant government officials.
Visit www.friendsoftheenvironment.org for more information on the proposal (click on Current Projects, then Habitat Conservation). You can also submit a letter through our website!
Please forward your letters to:
Friends of the Environment
P.O. Box AB-20755
Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas
To learn more, visit Friends of the Environment online at www.friendsoftheenvironment.org or call (242) 367-2721.