The future of scientific research in the Bahamas is not looking good. Many scientists, ourselves included, are still trying to persuade the government to make systemic changes to the research permitting process administered by the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection.
There is an outside chance that our research colleague Annabelle Brooks (formerly of the Island School) will get a permit to work in the Abacos. Annabelle’s dates have passed, though she thinks she may be able to negotiate changes if she is granted a permit. The Abaco project is the one that Annabelle, Dr Beth Whitman (Florida International University) and I have been trying to accomplish since spring 2021. In early 2021 we received a grant from the Devereux Ocean Foundation to support this research.
Barbara and I and Karen Bjorndal (Director of the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida) have been discussing the possibility of working in the Turks & Caicos. We have communicated with the TCI Department of Environment & Coastal Resources, the School for Field Studies in South Caicos, and turtle scientists from the Marine Conservation Society in the UK who have an active project in TCI. I am flying down to South Caicos on a reconnaissance mission in mid-July and will give shark and turtle lectures at the School for Field Studies while I am there.
The Turks & Caicos would be exciting new territory and a natural geographic extension of the work we have been doing in the Bahamas. If things improve in the Bahamas, we hope to return and perhaps work in both countries.
We wish you all a wonderful summer, and we will keep you informed about our future.