What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?
Through this project, we along with our project partners were able to determine the evaluate the full cost of the ecosystem services found on Andros which will help us to better plan for the future. The present ecosystem species and landscapes of Andros represent a huge ecological and economic endowment for the people of Andros, The Bahamas and the wider Caribbean region.
The habitats on Andros provide an estimated mean of $46, 000 per km2 per year in ecosystem services, such as carbon storage, water supply and recreation.
Overall habitats on Andros are thought to generate $296 million a year in net economic benefits which if sustained, will be worth $4.6billion over the next 25 years. The net benefit of freshwater on Andros is $3.5 million each year.
Nature provides income and employment for 80% of Andros; 1,645 full time jobs and 8,000 part time jobs. Commercial fisheries in Andros (including crabbing and sponging ) generate $70 million in revenues each year, which provides food and income for many people.
Nature based tourism activities (including accommodation, bonefishing and diving) constitute 43.6million in revenues each year in Andros.
In order to establish a basic level of sustainable management of these habitats, funding will be needed. Promising sources of funding include bonefishing fees, fundraising program, cruise ship fees and voluntary hotel surcharges
The expected results of this project will help us to better manage the natural resources of the island in a sustainable way. The Andros Conservancy and Trust has been instrumental in leading the charge to not only protect the natural resources of Andros but The Bahamas as well. Tourism is the number one industry of The Bahamas, therefore for it to continue it must be done in a sustainable way.
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.
Over the next few years additional funding will be needed ($1.62 million which is equivalent to 0.6% of the economic benefits and 1% of the gross revenues of this islands ecosystems produces a year) to continue to engage key stakeholders. Additional public meetings, workshops and presentations will need to be conducted. Additionally, the following will have to take place • stakeholder consultations to document natural areas which are important to the communities on Andros and existing and potential threats to those areas.
• Mapping the distribution of land and sea resources and zoning of important areas.
• Conducting a study of the Economic Value of the Natural Resources on Andros.
• Development of an Ecotourism for island of Andros that would include action steps for advancing ecotourism on the island.
• School awareness program which involved a poster competition, environmental books to school and installation of weather stations at three high schools on the island
• Development of a Water Conservation Strategy which highlights water use by various sectors and ways to reduce water wastage and increase water efficiency
What would prevent your project from being a success?
Not achieving significant level of funding. Without intensive conservation and management the biodiversity of Andros could be gone in less than 50 years. Andros and the rest of The Bahamas, harbours populations of the Caribbean’s most iconic marine species, from Nassau, Grouper to bottlenose dolphins, bonefish and seaturtles