Grand Bahama Can Be A Global Leader in the Blue Economy – GCFI Conference

(l-r) Robert Glazer, GCFI Executive Director; Prescott Smith, winner of the GCFI 2022 Gladding Memorial Award; Danielle Hanek, Acting Director, Forestry Unit, Ministry of the Environment & Natural Resources (MENR); Minister of State, MENR, Hon. Zane Lightbourne; Minister, MENR, Hon, Vaughn Miller; Martin Russell, Chair, GCFI Board of Directors; and Alejandro Acosta, GCFI Program Chair

Grand Bahama is setting a pace in the research and implementation of the Blue Economy that has the potential to make this second city of The Bahamas a global leader, according to one of the first presenters to address the 76th Gulf & Caribbean Fisheries Institute (CGFI) taking place in The Bahamas this week.

Minister of the Environment & Hon. Vaughn P. Miller officially opened the conference on Monday, calling on the hundreds of delegates representing more than 40 countries to come together to exchange ideas and discuss solutions that would augment efforts to protect and conserve marine resources in The Bahamas, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico – areas covered by GCFI.

Grand Bahama’s environmental, fisheries and affiliated communities are moving to ensure that the needs of the community are prioritized and met in the midst of a number of advancements and developments for Grand Bahama. This extensive community involvement and focus on the needs of Grand Bahamians caught the attention of Emily C. Melvin, PhD student of Marine Science and Conservation student at Duke University. 

Melvin, whose work involves tracking the blue economy and developments coming out of Grand Bahama post-Dorian, says she is excited about the role Grand Bahama could play in redefining what the Blue Economy is all about. 

“When we think of the Blue Economy, it is usually focused on profits and investment, and the GDP,” Melvin said.

“But what we are seeing in the discourse on the Blue Economy in Grand Bahama is that there is a focus on the community, on capacity building, and on opportunities for education. In my work, I look at the economy more broadly – in terms of how people take care of each other and the environment and we really see a lot of possibilities in Grand Bahama that will allow people involved in the Blue Economy around the world to rethink about what it is in a more equitable way.”

“A lot of fascinating things are coming out of Grand Bahama,” she added, “As there is a focus on science, technology and innovation in the economy.”

“This positions Grand Bahama to be a potential leader in the Blue Economy. It will allow other countries to look at things differently and focus on communities. If we think of it as community-focused, it can be replicated and modeled around the world – and that’s exciting!”

Melvin joins a lengthy slate of speakers, panelists and presenters who are participating in GCFI’s 76th conference, taking place November 6-10, 2023, at the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island. 

Minister Miller officially opened the conference along with Minister of State Zane Lightbourne; Acting Director of the Forestry Unit Danielle Hanek; Robert Glazer, GCFI Executive Director; Alejandro Acosta, GCFI Program Chair; and Martin Russell, Chair, GCFI Board of Directors. 

Bahamian bonefish and conservation activist, winner of the GCFI Gladding Memorial Award Prescott Smith was also in attendance. His award was historic for the country, and was followed by a commitment to bring this global conference to The Bahamas, which has now come to fruition. Since its inception in 1947, this is the second time that the conference was hosted in The Bahamas. The first time was in 1991. Prime Minister Philip E. Davis was slated to give the keynote address at the opening ceremony Monday evening. 

Source: Samantha Black

Hundreds of delegates representing 40 countries from around the world are attending the GCFI 76th Conference in The Bahamas

Delegates are all smiles as they connect and meet to discuss protecting marine waters in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico

Emily C. Melvin, PhD student at Duke University USA, says Grand Bahama has the potential to be a world leader in the Blue Economy