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Old 01-10-2010, 04:53   #16
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KILLIONFISH if someone made you the spokseman for the " upgrades" to Georgetown they didn't do a very good job.
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Old 01-10-2010, 05:20   #17
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“ ... H.i. Background:
Within the Caribbean, the whole problem of wastewater treatment related to the recreational industry (particularly yachts) needs to be address as there is a significant problem with waste disposal at most anchorages, harbours and marinas throughout most of the Caribbean SIDS.
Both solid and liquid waste represent a problem, but sewage discharges are probably the major concern. The Bahamas has more marinas than any of the other Caribbean Island countries. New marinas in the Bahamas are required to have reception facilities for wastewater to secondary level after which the effluent is injected into deep holes. Solid waste
is taken to landfill sites on the larger or more populated islands, and smaller areas and communities use incineration and then collection. However, enforcement is difficult due to the geographical extent of the 700 or more islands across some 1,400 km of ocean, and there is still a need for better facilities and compliance, especially in relation to visiting yachts. One fairly classic example of where this problem is now a serious concern is at Elizabeth Harbour in the Exuma Keys.
The Exuma Keys are an aesthetic attraction visited by many yachts every year. Elizabeth Harbour in Georgetown attracts upwards of 5-600 boats a day. There are no moorings at Elizabeth Harbour and anchoring causes coral damage. Elizabeth Harbour also has a history of contamination from sewage discharged mainly from visiting yachts, but also from waterside commercial establishments such as restaurants and shops. Visiting vessels pump grey and black wastewater into the harbour causing environmental degradation and eutrophication.
Although there are varying degrees of awareness with regard to this problem, little has been done so far to address what are sensitive issues, impinging as they do on the tourism industry and its importance to the national economy. The need to monitor and manage the entry and movement of recreational vessels within the Bahamas is recognised, and is reflected in the
recently adopted national fee on recreational vessels of $300 per vessel for entry into Bahamian waters. Inevitably, yacht owners will now expect some return on this fee and will be placing pressure on the government to provide necessary facilities to justify such a payment. Their principle needs will almost certainly be high quality anchorages and marinas with associated facilities for maintenance and general upkeep. Foremost among these facilities should be the provision of reception facilities for waste materials. Recreational vessels need to dispose of such wastes urgently upon reaching a berth or anchorage. It is
within the country’s (and the tourist industry’s) best interests to ensure that these waste materials are properly treated and disposed of rather than being allowed to create a serious threat to the all-important coastal and marine environment.
This area of the Bahamas was nominated and adopted by the Steering Committee as a Hotspot within the Caribbean using the GIWA-based Hotspot Selection Mechanism. This selection mechanism identifies Exuma as a primary pollution Hotspot Area within the Bahamas, with particular concerns related to microbiological pollution and eutrophication resulting from inadequate sewage treatment.

H.ii. Objectives and Activities:
Uncontrolled and untreated recreational vessel discharges are now a serious problem throughout the Bahamas, particularly within those areas where vessels tend to congregate in numbers. Clearly these recreational vessels represent a potential problem throughout their range and wherever they are cruising. However, these vessels are far less likely to discharge within Bahamian waters if A. the legislation and enforcement is sufficiently strict
B. if there are suitable and effective reception facilities at the major marinas and harbours.
Furthermore, many of the popular recreational areas still have inadequate provisions for mooring or anchoring. The objective of the project will be to demonstrate how such facilities can be retroactively installed and sustainably managed, and how incentives for use (or disincentives for violation of legal requirements) can be effectively established.
The main barriers for better control and management of vessel discharges and damage by anchoring are as follows:
A. Lack of reception facilities for vessel wastewater (grey and black)
B. Lack of moorings or designated anchorage areas to prevent damage to sensitive biological habitats
C. Inadequate legislative control and lack of capacity for enforcement
D. Poor incentives/disincentives for use of reception facilities, moorings or anchorage areas
E. Inadequate monitoring of water quality to guide policy-makers and legislators
In order to remove these barriers and to address the threats, the following requirements and activities are necessary:
Establishment of a management infrastructure and strategy for Elizabeth Harbour
• Creation of an Elizabeth Harbour Management Partnership (EHMP = Gov’t.,
Community, Commerce)
• Establishment of an effective monitoring and compliance capacity
Creation of effective wastewater reception facilities in Elizabeth Harbour
• Construction and operation of a marina/yacht pump-out system
• Construction of a marina/yacht pump-out system, including delivery of a “pump-out” boat capable of receiving sewage from vessels at anchor throughout Elizabeth Harbour;
• Development of deep-well disposal mechanism
• Adoption of long-term maintenance programme Deployment of moorings and establishment of anchorages
• Selection and approval of sites for moorings and anchorages (by EHMP)
• Deployment of agreed number of moorings
• Buoying of anchorage areas
• Public Awareness support (instructions to marinas on use of moorings and
• Adoption of long-term maintenance programme for moorings and buoys
Legislative and policy amendment to provide incentives for use of facilities and to establish responsibility for maintenance
Survey of existing discharge and solid waste disposal practices in Elizabeth Harbour
Survey of current anchoring practices and resultant damage
• Baseline data collection and analysis for water quality in target areas(s)
• Based on justifications from data, development of amended legislation and a proposed
compliance plan (including new requirements for all further constructions, both
private and commercial).
• Establishment of long-term responsibility and accountability for facilities
Sustainability and Replication
• Adoption of a sustainable funding mechanism for maintenance of the pump-out
system, moorings and buoys, compliance monitoring, water quality monitoring, etc
• Formal confirmation of financial and political support to the EHMP
• Adoption of a long-term water quality monitoring programme for Elizabeth Harbour
• Submission of a detailed plan to Government for replication of facilities and
supportive infrastructure/legislation throughout the Bahamas (including estimated costs and valuation of benefits versus losses to economy from inaction)

H.iii. End-of Project Landscape:

By the end of this project, the Bahamas (with GEF support) will have demonstrated a cost effective, retroactive response to the problems created by recreational vessels within marina and harbour situations in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. It will also have provided guidance for proactive policy and legislative requirements for future recreational developments. Water quality within Elizabeth Harbour will have been improved and damage to biological habitats will have been mitigated and reduced. An Elizabeth Harbour Management body will be in
existence with a strategic plan to guide it. The Government of the Bahamas will recognise the advantages of the demonstration (versus the economic disadvantages of inaction), and will have adopted a policy of replication throughout the islands. The lessons and best practices
regarding retro-fitting of such facilities (as well as the value of pre-emptive planning for inclusion of such facilities in new developments) will be transferable and of great benefit and advantage to other Caribbean (and global) SIDS ...”

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Old 01-10-2010, 05:39   #18
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My comments:

Moorings: From what I saw and heard last winter, the number of boats in Elizabeth Harbour for the winter is down and there is plenty of available anchoring room. Given that, I'm not sure what purpose moorings serve other than providing a more legitimized excuse to charge boats to stay there.

Sewage: With so many boats there, sewage does concern me. However: 1. Is there any real data as to how bad the sewage is? 2. How will mandatory pump outs be enforced? Unless they go pour dye into everyone's tanks, I think most people will continue to pump overboard discreetly.

It seems to me these new rules will cost cruiser's more, give them less freedom and potentially do little to address the issue of harbour pollution.

The increased regulations about anchoring and added moorings all over the Exuma Land and Sea Park as well as this are one reason, I may just stick to the Abacos this winter.
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:05   #19
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Originally Posted by KILLLIONFISH View Post
New moorings are being put out in Elizabeth Harbour. All boats going forward will have to pay the Harbour Master $30 per week. All boats will also have to use the waste pump out service due to an over abundance of lazy, rude and inconsiderate squatters dumping their waste in the harbour. Get ready to pay to play! I have a feeling that the quality of the 2010/2011 Georgetown, Exuma cruising community will rise exponentially.

Also, there is talk of a garbage charge of $2/bag for the upcoming season.

Any comments?
Just read a report of the June meeting of IWCAM ( Integrating Watershed and Coastal Area Management )and it stated that 15 moorings were going into Gaviota Bay (Hole #1). This is what was proposed last spring when we were in GT. No talk of moorings throughout Elizabeth Harbour. Also they are building a wastewater treatment plant. I wonder where Killlionfish is getting his/her information? It would help to have correct information.
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:21   #20
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The new wastewater treatment plant at Emerald Bay was supposed to be running this past June. No word anywhere I could find about status so I assume it isn't finished yet.

I agree that the Abacos are looking better and better. Less sweating also. *grin*
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:28   #21
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I'm a frugal cruiser and $30/week for a mooring, in good condition, isn't going to be a deterrent. So is paying a reasonable pump out fee. However, if I ever see or hear that the waste boat's dumping its load outside Stocking Island, I won't be a happy cruiser.

For me, George Town is the last stop for reasonable provisioning, mail, and parts shipment. There are far better places to drop your hook, imo.
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:31   #22
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Personally I don't think the changes will be earth shattering. We don't stay in GT too long. In the past few seasons we've spent more time in Long Island at Thompson Bay. A very friendly spot.
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:59   #23
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Thanks to GordMay excellent links and post we can get some real information rather than hearsay. One of the links was to the Explorer Charts chatter section which gives a good synopsis of the situation:

More information about the GEF-IWCAM project in Exuma can be found at the following website:

The Local Elizabeth Harbour Management Steering Committee is working in coordination with the BEST Commission in Nassau to implement this project. We have met with members of the boating community and have completed a survey of the boating community to ensure people are able to express their opinion about the installation of moorings in the harbour and a pumpout system. In the near future, we will be holding a forum with members of the boating community to provide them with more information about how the project will be implemented. The following should be noted to avoid any confusion:
It is very likely that mooring use will not be required in the harbour except for in ecologically sensitive areas.
A pumpout system including a boat and proper waste treatment facility will be operational in Elizabeth Harbour. It is intended that the treatment system used for boat waste will also be used to handle some island waste.
This project is funded by the United Nations Global Environment Facility Program. It is not funded nor was it proposed by the Island Administrator or any foreign resident in the area.
Not all of the information found at about the Exuma project is current.
More information will be forthcoming as the project develops. Thank you.
(Posted 2/14/10)

- - As others posted and I have observed during "Regatta Week" Elizabeth Harbor gets rather overwhelmed by boat discharges. But the maximum "ugly" discharge I have personally seen is "soap foam" floating through the anchorages from grey water discharges. Except for the die-hards and newbie's, I and many others leave during this time and head over to nearby Thompson Bay which is a mighty nice place. And the food prices are half that of Georgetown and there are major fishing fleet packing facilities for getting great fish and lobsters at great prices. And then there is the famous Tryphena’s dinner to beat all other dinners at the Thompson Bay Inn.

- - For those who have never been there or that region of the Bahamas here is a great photo link of Georgetown, Stocking Island and some of the nearby things on other Islands close to Georgetown.
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:11   #24
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I haven't found any information more recent than last Spring. Since the plan was for the Emerald Bay wastewater treatment facility to be online in June more recent data would be useful, particularly since nothing gets finished on time in the Bahamas.

So who's done there NOW that can give us the real deal?
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:14   #25
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:23   #26
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Well I picked up the phone and called IWCAM to get the straight story. After five transfers around their office in St Lucia they gave me a bunch of numbers for the onsite guy in the Bahamas. No answer at any of them.

I'll keep trying.
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:29   #27
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I just got an email confirming that there is in fact 15 moorings installed off of Volley Ball Beach, and that is all that have been installed. And there is still plenty of room north and south of them to anchor!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-10-2010, 20:13   #28
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Folks, when you get to Georgetown, Great Exuma you will see what is happening. BRING CASH!
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Old 04-10-2010, 23:25   #29
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I finally got through to someone in IWCAM who told me that the wastewater treatment facility at Emerald Bay is operational and the pump-out boat is running. He didn't want to talk about waste produced in Georgetown outside Emerald Bay or how regularly the pump-out boat is running.

It would be nice to hear from someone cruising there who can enumerate the specific changes.
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Old 05-10-2010, 14:11   #30
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Oh my my my I want to tell you all a little something, when my family andI first pulled into Georgetown harbour in 1977 it was pristine. There were 5 boats and the maximum number of boats in the harbour all winter was 12. I have been returning to exuma for 33 years now. We have sold our boat and my family has property in exuma and I am married to a bahamian and we live in Exuma. I want to tell you all that you are all guilty of not participating in local events, you are all guilty of polluting that harbour, dropping off garbage and taking advantage of the entire situation for far too many years. IT'S ABOUT TIME SOMETHING WAS DONE ABOUT IT!!! You have your " beach church" group that prefer to stick to themselves over on Stocking island, instead of participating in local church services and groups. You have your own entertainment instead of coming to town, you do pollute the harbour and drop off your garbage and you have to start paying. WHO DO YOU ALL THINK YOU ARE??????? this is not your country and you had all better start respecting the fact that it isn't. I am embarassed to be an ex cruiser and sickened by what I see going on, you use the community facilities including regatta park, invade space that isn't yours and you think you contribute so much? think again. There are a very and I mean very small number of you that conduct yourselves properly while you are VISITING Exuma. AND FOR HEAVENS SAKE WHEN YOU ARE IN TOWN LEARN HOW TO WALK ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD NOT DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!!!!! Locals are afraid to say any of this because they don't want to upset you. Fees for being in the harbour have been put off for years because they are afraid you will stop coming, but I can say it for them..... GLADLY. Stop being a bunch of hermits on the other side of the harbour and pay for what you are using. GOOD GOD people you aren't the salvation of Georgetown, trust me. My friends and I had the very first volley ball game on Stocking island years ago way before any of you even heard of Exuma. One volley ball net and no riff raff in the harbour it was wonderful. Any one who can't pay or won't pay or threatens that Exuma will not survive if they stop coming can just sail right on by as far as I'm concerned. Good on ya....don't come back. And for those of you returning, please participate more in what is going on in town, seriously you really do look silly with all your "beach" functions. You are more than welcome in town, you all have just forgotten what it is to be a cruiser learning about the culture of the place you are VISITING. You want to stay within your own little bubble on the other side of the harbour and it really is annoying. For those of you who are active in the community and have been, you are wonderful and I am proud that you ae doing what you are doing, have a great cruising season and I'm sure I'll see you around town TRACEY PEARCE
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