A bonefish flat in the Adelaide area of New Providence was recently severely damaged when mangroves were illegally removed by heavy equipment to make space for an unsanctioned coastal development. This bonefish flat was one of the few untouched natural areas left in New Providence, and was frequented by anglers, guides, and residents for recreation. The flat provided important habitat for bonefish, nurse sharks, stingrays, birds, and a variety of animals that depend on intact mangrove habitat. The area impacted is approximately 210,000 square feet in size and is adjacent to two mangrove creeks.
This unauthorized removal of mangroves in The Bahamas raises significant concerns. BTT has identified habitat loss and degradation as the greatest threat to the recreational bonefishing industry in The Bahamas, which brings more than $169 million annually to the country. Mangroves play a crucial role in The Bahamas marine system, serving as fish nurseries and providing natural protection against storm surges. The involvement of the Attorney General, Royal Bahamas Police Force, Department of Environmental Planning and Protection, and Forestry Unit underscores the seriousness of the matter, and we applaud their response.
The public outcry about this event reflects the shared concerned of Bahamians for environmental conservation. Unfortunately, destructive developments like this one are not new, but this recent example of mangrove habitat loss highlights the importance for conservation and protection of important marine habitats in The Bahamas. Preserving mangroves requires a collaborative approach involving government agencies, local communities, and environmental organizations. BTT stands with the people of The Bahamas in opposing illegal and unsustainable development that negatively impacts the county’s inshore ecosystems such as what has occurred in Adelaide.