Conservation Of the Marine Environment in Toco,
The COME Toco Initiative, which stands for Conservation Of the Marine Environment in Toco, came about as a result of the Toco community’s effort to get the Toco coral habitat protected under the Trinidad and Tobago ESA (Environmentally Sensitive Areas) Rules. The habitat has cultural, environmental and ecological significance, and exists in a rural area that is relatively pristine. The habitat comprises a variety of environment types, ranging from pebbled, sandy and somewhat muddy beaches and rocky shores, to coral communities, seagrasses and algal beds. There is also ecological connectivity within the area as well as within the region, as sea turtles use the area as foraging, breeding and nesting grounds. In recognition of the potential for research and sustainable tourism, this project seeks to develop and implement ways to conserve the environment, as well as enhance environmental education and public awareness of environmental issues. It would also initiate the development of eco-tourism within the community as well as offer considerations for Protected Areas designation and management.