first_img Tweet Share 173 Views   no discussions Share LocalNews Fishing or Tourism? The Soufriere/Scotts Head Community… by: – June 18, 2011center_img Sharing is caring! Share Soufriere Marine Reserve. Photo credit: Alice DalrympleWhile the community of Morne Prosper is known by Dominicans as the ‘breadbasket’ of the island and the community of Paix Bouche is referred to as the ‘cultural capital’ of Dominica, persons continue to argue whether the twin communities of Soufriere/Scotts Head fall under the list of fishing communities like Fond St. Jean, Bioche and Salisbury or the growing record of tourism communities like Portsmouth, Roseau and the Carib Territory.Located in the southwest coast of Dominica, Soufriere is the capital of the Parish of Saint Mark, home to a population of approximately, 1,416 people.This community is probably best known for its unique and varied diving and snorkeling opportunities, but also provides revenue for a number of fishermen, whose livelihood depend on the waters of the Caribbean Sea.The waters, which are generally calm and clear, is protected by the island’s mountainous terrain from the prevailing easterly winds.In the center of the village lies the Soufriere/Scotts Head Bay Marine Reserve, located on a submerged volcano, with drop-offs, wrecks, a wide variety of colorful fish and an abundance of corals in pristine condition.‘Champagne’ – streams of tiny bubbles rising from the ocean floor – betraying hot springs beneath the sea bed, a sight that continues to ‘wow’ snorkelers and scuba divers everyday.At the ‘toe’ of the island, a trail leads past old cannons to the summit of a rocky outcrop.To the south, from any vantage point, the French island of Martinique may be clearly seen across the channel.On the other hand however, the road inland from Soufriere takes you to an open air warm sulphur spring bathing pool below the forest canopy, from where a nature trail leads to conical sulphur deposits on the hillside.On your trail to this natural attraction, you will pass a number of cottages, motels and apartments, including Gallion at Sea, DEAUX LA MERS APARTMENTS, WINDSOR VILLA, OCEAN VIEW APARTMENTS, CASTILLE PARADISE and the famous PETIT COULIBRI, which has been one of the resting places for what Dominicans call ‘famous’ visitors.The question remains…is this a fishing community or a tourism community?The manager of the Soufriere/ Scotts Head Bay Marine Reserve, Nigel Lawrence says apart from a massive public awareness blitz, officials from Dominica’s Fisheries Division, in conjunction with the French Government and the OECS, continue to set guidelines and rules for use of the area, to ensure that the bay remains pristine.He says since the community depends heavily on returns collected from fishing, and they have also sought French technical and financial assistance to help initiate the reserve’s integrated management plan, which regulates the use of the bay.On the contrary, the Ministry of Tourism under the Government of Dominica has invested over $200,000 on a project which involved the renovation and expansion of the facility.There are now three pools with a pipe taking hot water to the main pool, which has been extended to improve circulation in the main pool.The facility also has changing rooms and boasts an expanded cafeteria.However, seventeen year old Jasmine Alexander, who was born and bred in the community of Soufriere believes that tourism impacts heavily on the lives of residents, including hoteliers, restaurateurs, local shop owners as well as craft vendors.Well, since both parties benefit, why can’t we just say it’s a fishing tourism community?It’s not that easy to say, when you have twin communities with one bay and five zonal areas.Yes, the bay is segmented into five zonal areas, the largest of which is the fishing priority area in the heart of the bay.The north and the south ends, which house a wealth of unusual underwater formations, are designated dive sites.Between the fishing and southern dive zones is a designated recreation area and niched in the cove off the Soufriere village is a fish nursery and research zone.The zones provide both protection and opportunity for area users by safeguarding the bay environment and resolving conflicts, particularly between the principal users, fishermen and divers, who will no longer ‘get in each other’s way’.A spin around the bay in a kayak around sunset gives watchers about an 80 percent chance of seeing anything from dolphins to flying fish frolicking around the vessel.Meanwhile, with conservation and wildlife preservation, which was once so much a part of the 1980s thinking, it may well be that before too long a very common Caribbean pastime will be searching for a dolphin or whale sighting in an ocean-going kayak.But now, at Soufriere, you can set your net in the Nursery Area, move up to the Fishing Priority area, anchor your boat there and then lower down, enjoy some great scuba diving!It’s what we call the network of life; biodiversity at its best!by: Alice Dalrymplelast_img

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