Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) is closely monitoring potential cruise port development plans near Xanadu Beach, a bonefish pre-spawning aggregation (PSA) site on Grand Bahama. BTT recognizes the importance of balancing economic development and environmental conservation and expresses its willingness to work closely with the developer to explore solutions that minimize negative impacts on the PSA site at Xanadu Beach.
“PSA sites are vital for the survival of these species, and any disturbance or alteration to these areas could have irreversible consequences,” said BTT Bahamas Initiative Manager, Justin Lewis. “A PSA site is a crucial location in the life cycle of bonefish and other species. It is a gathering point for bonefish that travel from flats 10 to even 100 miles away. They gather at these sites before moving offshore to spawn. These sites play a pivotal role in the bonefish reproductive process, and any disturbances or alterations to these PSA sites can disrupt the natural reproductive cycle, impacting the local and regional bonefish populations.”
Recent research documented Xanadu Beach as a bonefish PSA site and tracked bonefish moving offshore to spawn. This confirms that this location is essential for sustaining the bonefish population and supporting the economically and culturally important fishery. BTT acknowledges the importance of responsible tourism and recognizes the economic benefits of the cruise industry. Nevertheless, the burgeoning cruise industry has raised concerns due to its potential impact on PSA sites, notably Xanadu Beach.
“Bonefish & Tarpon Trust calls for transparent and science-based decision-making processes that consider the ecological significance of Xanadu Beach and the potential consequences of the proposed development,” said BTT President and CEO Jim McDuffie. “The vitality of flats fishery is also intricately connected to our valued partners in the bonefish guide and lodge communities, given that flats fishing serves as a substantial economic catalyst in its own right and is culturally important. BTT is committed to working with all parties to find solutions that balance economic interests and preserve critical marine habitats, with an eye toward long-term fishery, cultural, and economic health.”
It is essential to prioritize the conservation of these PSA sites to ensure the long-term sustainability of bonefish populations and the marine environment’s overall health, as well as the Bahamians who depend on healthy fisheries and marine habitats.