A five-part investigation for the Trinidad Express into the government’s plans to establish a large multipurpose port in the village of Toco on Trinidad’s north coast. The area is known for its leatherback turtle population which inhabits the north east coast and gathers off Toco; for its unique fringing coral reefs found only in Toco; and for a special beauty and ambience which has long drawn Trinidadians to its charms. The biodiversity of Toco Bay will be destroyed and threatened far beyond its shores, while the recreational pursuits enjoyed for generations will a be a thing of the past when the port is built. Toco badly needs basic development and infrastructural improvements, but does this really have to come at the cost of your natural environment, for the simple pleasures it’s so easy to take for granted, like your beach, your views, the character of your village? While Extinction Rebellion demonstrations erupt in cities abroad at the threat to our way of life from climate change and ecological catastrophe, in Trinidad, critics argue, the authorities are moving ahead with an extinction plan all of their own.

Click on the newspaper image below to access the articles.Toco's Turnig Tide Pt1

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A leatherback nesting at Grande Riviere. The waters off Toco are critical to the turtles who gather there and frequent the north east coasts off Trinidad

Leatherback turtle hotspots

A map by Professor Scott Eckert showing leatherback hotspots off Galera Point in Toco in the middle of proposed shipping lanes

leatherback map.jpgMigratory routes of leatherbacks around Trinidad and off Galera Point in Toco

slate pencil sea urchin

The beautiful slate pencil sea urchin in Grande L’Anse Bay by Dr Stanton Belford, one of 79 species, some possibly new to science, so far recorded in the bay developers dismiss as having no critical habitat

Low tide showing corals at Grande Anse Bay

Corals at low tide in Grande L’Anse Bay

Zoanthidsea anemoneKnobby brain coral

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Map showing fringing coral reef off Toco and in Grande L’Anse Bay where the port is planned. The reefs of Toco are the only fringing coral reefs in Trinidad

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Grande L’Anse Bay and Mission Beach, a nesting site for turtles, coral habitat, and a source of recreation for Toco residents. Critics say it will be destroyed by dredging and altered coastal dynamics when the port (below) is built here. Copyright Iere Eye Aerial Photography

Toco Port from CEC application

Port location matrix by Colin Barcant

Port matrix by marine industry expert Colin Barcant showing Toco to be the worst of three possible locations in north east Trinidad for a port

CECILS ISLAND

The undisclosed location for offshore oil bunkering at Cecil’s Island which the Express has been told will take place after the approvals for the initial port plan have gone through

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