Friday, September 18, 2009

A start

I'm starting this at the School for Field Studies, in South Caicos of the Turks and Caicos Islands. There are just over 30 of us here, including staff, and we share this island with perhaps 1000 locals.
The locals are mostly immigrants from the Dominican Republic or Haiti looking for work, or descendants of former slaves who came or were left here. One of the first colonies sprang from the shipwreck of an old slaver. However, there are no indigenous peoples here, or even any descendants. The Lucayans died out within 30 years of Columbus's arrival, exterminated by plague and Spanish enslavement. There are still traces of them to be found, such as on Middleton Cay, where they had what appear to be fishing camps where they caught and cooked the Queen Conch, one of the largest marine snails in the world.
The Queen Conch is, with lobster, the main source of income for this island. They are being over exploited, but the locals figure that once they run out, they will find something else. That is how things have been done here, and may well continue to be done here.
Once the fisheries exhaust the conch and lobster, they will likely move through the remaining marine species here, such as the groupers, and then the snappers and grunts.

Perhaps after that, they will move into tourism, as other parts of TCI are already doing. Lying as it does in the British West Indies, to the south-east of the Bahamas and just to the north of the Caribbean, this place seems well suited for it. South Caicos is beautiful.

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