Bimini Blue Coalition works to keep this Bahamian region blue and beautiful
(DiverWire) The islands of Bimini have a rich and eclectic history decorated with rum running, world record big game fishing, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Bermuda Triangle. These tiny, “Islands in the Stream,” are also home to a diverse range of ecosystems both above and below the surface. From mangrove forests to coral reefs, creatures both mighty and delicate can be found. The beauty of Bimini is hanging in the balance though, in a battle against development and environmental destruction.
The Bimini Blue Coalition was formed in January 2013 to promote and protect the bluest waters in The Bahamas, those which are found right here in Bimini. Our coalition consists of local residents, business owners, community leaders, second-home owners, and frequent visitors. Bimini is known across the globe as the ‘Big Game Fishing Capital of the World’, and our island is widely renowned for its thriving fisheries, vibrant coral reefs, and spectacular blue water. In fact, our entire tourism industry is based on the health and beauty of our waters.
Although the idea for the Bimini Blue Coalition (BBC) was conceived as a way to further promote our island’s growing ecotourism industry, we also feel it is a critical part of our mission to address and confront issues that threaten the sustainability of our economy and environment. Today we write this message to address a potentially enormous catastrophe facing our tiny little island.
For years, the Bimini Bay Resort & Marina has positioned itself as one of the most controversial developments in all of the Bahamas. Over the past decade, dozens and dozens of news reports have documented their offenses against the people and the landscape of North Bimini. They have had several investors and management partnerships come and go over the years, but their latest pairing with Genting Resorts World seems to have exceptionally dire consequences to the foundation of our island. Currently the dangerously dynamic duo is trying to get approval for the construction of a cruise ship terminal off North Bimini’s western shore. The current plan is to build a 1000-foot pier extending west over Rainbow Reef with a man-made 6-acre island for the ships to dock at. This also requires a massive dredged channel for the ships to enter and exit through.
There are 14 dive sites within 1.5 miles of this proposed area. These sites only represent a fraction of the actual reef coverage in that area with the indirect and direct damage to these reefs being potentially catastrophic. The incredible ocean that surrounds these, “islands in the Stream,” is what has drawn visitors for decades and the destruction of these ecosystems will surely have a negative impact on not only the environment but also our community and our culture.
Bimini’s tourism industry has continued to grow in recent years while other islands have been much less fortunate, and we boast one of the highest return rates from our visitors of anywhere in the Bahamas. Gambling with our island’s future, for the sake of one foreign development, is not in the best interests of our island or our people.
We have created a petition directed at Prime Minister Perry G. Christie to halt these construction plans and we are asking for your help. This story is not just about Bimini, but also about the greed and power wiping out natural resources across the planet in the wake of an unforgiving and relentless tidal wave of environmental destruction. It only takes a moment to read and sign, so please help keep our islands blue and beautiful for future generations.
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