Exploration

Exploration is the fuel to our lives. We explore to discover the new, to understand and appreciate, we explore to inspire others to follow.

THE 2020 PROJECT

The Bahamas government has committed to protecting an additional 20% of its total territories into designated marine protected area by 2020. Each island asked interested parties in the contribution towards proposals. Volunteering for the Bahamas National Trust, Cristina Zenato completed the exploration and survey work of two major areas, Ben’s cave system and the Zodiac System area.

To date the Bahamas government has collected information for additional MPAs for a total of 10%. With the deadline coming so close it is important to keep the exploration of key areas that would benefit from this protection. 

Current exploration includes an adjacent cave system to Ben’s cave, possibly connecting together. As water travels underground it is imperative to include a system in such close proximity of the main one to guarantee the preservation of both. 

Extension of exploration and conservation work for the Sweetings Cay area has also been requested and it’s the other project on the board. This area requires intensive investment in gear and boat as it is not directly connected to the main land. 

Additionally through satellite system, we have identified sixty-eight new areas that could lead to possible systems and area of required protection. Time is currently invested in locating these areas by land, primarily driving and on foot, carrying necessary gear to investigate and locate entrances and systems, identifying their primary connection to mangroves, creeks, bays, forests to establish their role in the eco-system.

The most recent project is going back to one of the most known caves on the island of Grand Bahama, the Old Freetown system. With a new ship terminal construction in the plans, it is imperative that the exact location of not only the cave entrances but all of its ramifications to be known. This would inform the developers of the delicate system under the land and provide the government and all agencies involved with the necessary tools and information. This in return will highlight the need to implement a more strict conservation program to protect the entire area. 

Sharks

Sharks are a fundamental component of the health of the reef around the Bahamas and of course around the world.
They have been protected in various locations in the world, including the Bahamas but they are still subject to numerous threats.

The most common ones and least discussed are the following:

Coastal development and pollution. Humans have expanded their range of living towards the coastlines of most Countries, with the exceptions of few wild ones.

The Bahamas are blessed with amazing wild areas, pristine beaches and untouched locations. These locations are prime areas for mangroves growth, fish and invertebrates nurseries and the core of a variety of complex eco-systems meeting together. Sharks and other species use these areas for mating grounds, nesting areas and safe harbor for juveniles. 

Unfortunately they are also prime consideration for development due to their virgin beauty and nature. Opening these areas to development would put at risk the life of all the creatures depending on them and ultimately the well-being and financial support of humans in the areas, who use the ocean as prime source of income. 

For as much as we know about sharks, we are still not completely sure of some of the locations these creatures use to reproduce and keep their young safe.  We are in the process of developing a tagging system that would allow the monitoring of known Caribbean Reef sharks in the south side of the island to discover key locations for their reproduction and nursery and promote those areas off limits to coastal development. 

Exploration Gallery

Featured Video

Cristina Zenato connects two caves in Sweeting’s Key, completing the work that Rob Palmer left unfinished 30 years before.

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