This morning we continued the underwater survey work, with our dive team completing transects on the Cormier reef. But the highlight of the day came on an afternoon visit to the nearby fishing village of Labadie. Surrounded by steep mountains, this village is only accessible by water. People here are completely dependent on the sea, making the current crisis on their reefs particularly important. We had arranged to visit some fishermen in the afternoon to view and survey their catch for our fisheries study. But something got lost in the translation, and when we arrived at the village all the fishermen had gathered to hear us speak. What emerged was an impromptu meeting where we could learn their thoughts on their own natural resources, and take the first steps toward a fisheries association in this community. It was unplanned and unexpected, but we were able to pledge our partnership together towards a better future for the oceans and their families.
Students were impacted by this "environmental" mission. Often people think we are either focused on saving fish or focused on saving people. However, we believe that helping people with their practical needs can lead to good will AND the good news. So we are committed to not only caring about the oceans, but the people and the communities dependent on them. Overall, it as an unanticipated by historic meeting with the fishermen of Labadie.