27 October, 2017 The Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), in conjunction with Microsoft Caribbean, Fujitsu, GlobeRangers and Digicel deployed a Water Quality Monitoring Buoy in the Gulf of Paria (GoP) off Claxton Bay on October 25th 2017. To observe this event, a press conference was held at the Claxton Bay Fishing Facility and the feature address was delivered by the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development. Minister Robinson-Regis stated that for far too long we have talked about our problems, but today we are here to discuss a solution to address pollution. She commended the IMA for its initiative to work with the private sector companies such as Microsoft Caribbean, Fujitsu, GlobeRangers and Digicel, and engage the fisherfolk to develop a Proof of Concept (PoC) that would enable the collection of real time water quality data in the GoP 24 -7.
Remarks were also delivered by Mr. Hayden Alexander, Chairman of the IMA Board of Governors, who briefly highlighted the need for private-public-partnerships to provide solutions to the many challenges facing our marine environment. Ms.Racquel Moses, Microsoft Caribbean, eagerly stated Microsoft’s initiatives to invest in projects that use digital technology to benefit society and the environment. Mr. Jean Paul Dookie, Fujitsu, announced the company’s willingness and cooperation to embrace more private-public partnerships that would benefit not only coastal communities, but Trinidad and Tobago as a whole. Mr. Kishore Boodram, President of the Claxton Bay Fishing Association highlighted the problems that plague fisherfolk, particularly pollution in the GoP, and welcomed this initiative to finding a solution. He stated that this was a new beginning for us to work together to address problems in our marine environment.
The purpose of this PoC is to gather real time data from underwater sensors positioned on a buoy in GoP. This data will be processed and analyzed to provide critical insight into levels of pollution, and will assist with early detection of environmental incidents such as chemical spills, fish kills and harmful algal blooms, and allow for a quicker response. This PoC is expected to last for six months and IMA staff would be monitoring the measurements throughout the period. Once completed and the concept is successful, the IMA intends to maintain the buoy in the Gulf of Paria, and possibly duplicate the concept once funds are available. The data will be made available to the public.
After the press conference, the Minister, guests and media were invited to go out on an IMA vessel to view the deployment at sea.