Given the significance of the celebration of Earth day, we take this opportunity to laud the vision of the founder and CEO of Atlantis Submarines International, Mr. Dennis Hurd, for the vision in creating Atlantis Submarine as a sustainable tourism venture designed with environment in mind. Apart from creating jobs and earning foreign exchange it has certainly raised the awareness of the importance of the coral reefs especially to the school children that experience this "Living Classroom".
The full economic impact of reefs is not clearly understood by many of us living in the islands but the research done by the Caribbean Reef Education and Training Initiative points to a number of pertinent facts that seek to quantify the economic impact of coral reefs. If we consider reefs in their role in the creation of the white, sandy beaches that lure tourists to the Caribbean, they account for one in six Caribbean jobs and about US$ 15 billion a year to the region's income. Additionally, since they serve as a nursery for many fish species, reefs play a large role in getting about 500,000 tonnes of the region's food to the table.
Earth Day is a good opportunity to remind us of the role that we can play in protecting the reefs that protect our shores and in so doing protect our own livelihood and our future.