Environment Division investigating reports of mangrove removal

(Image source: Wikipidia)

The Environment Division says it is investigating reports of renewed removal of mangroves at the Crabbs Peninsula area.

The land in question belongs to Yida International Investment Antigua Limited and is part of that company’s special economic zone.

However, the land is also part of the North East Marine Management Area, a marine reserve protected by the 2006 Fisheries act which makes mangrove clearing illegal.

Chief Environment Officer, Diann Black-Layne, says environment officers are trying to confirm the reports.

“I have been hearing the reports of that…Two officers are on sick leave and we are waiting for them to come back in on Monday. We are investigating the matter, that is all i can say right now”

She says that the department is trying to find out from the DCA what specific approvals were given to Yida for land preparation.

She added that Yida could face fines under the fisheries Act if the removal of mangroves is confirmed.

“We have to check with the DCA to see if they have permission, they may give them permission to do land sub-division or land clearing but not mangrove. There is a provision for them to be fined.”

The two thousand, one hundred and thirty-eight acres that the Yida owns are in the centre on the marine reserve – NEMMA.

Section 53 of the 2006 Fisheries Act makes removal of mangroves, construction, dredging, or any destruction of the natural environment in a marine reserve illegal.

Anyone who commits such an offense can be fined up to one hundred thousand dollars under the Act.

Yida promises to spend US $2 billion over a 10-year period, develop the largest free trade zone in the country, off-shore financial centre, 5-star luxury resort, internationally branded villa communities, a casino and gaming complex, multi-purpose conference centre, 27-hole golf course, marina and landing facilities, commercial, retail, sports and other auxiliary facilities.