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Sustainability Under the Sea: How Secret Bay is Supporting Dominica’s Blue Economy

As part of a nationwide commitment to the environment and economy, Dominica has detailed a plan to achieve climate-resilience status by 2030. The plan includes initiatives to help preserve and restore the natural resources of the Nature Island and beyond over the next decade. 

Below, learn about one of the 20 targets in Dominica’s Climate Resilience and Recovery Plan—a goal to support and protect the ocean, coastline, and those who depend on each. Additionally, discover how Secret Bay is contributing to this ambitious and attainable goal through two ongoing programs.

Dominica’s Path to Climate Resistance: Underwater Restoration & Protection

“Blue economy” is a term that broadly means sustainably using ocean resources while still preserving the integrity of the ocean ecosystem. The waters and coastlines are susceptible to coastal development, pollution, and fishing—along with natural (but still potentially harmful) events like storms and coral bleaching. 

With the fishing and tourism industries particularly dependent on the health of the ocean, it’s imperative that we do our part to protect and strengthen the integrity of this delicate ecosystem. The government plan outlines protection of three key habitats: 1) coral reefs, 2) mangroves, and 3) seagrass beds—the combination of these helping to support fisheries, stabilize coastlines and host tourism activities.

The Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica is heading the blue economy program—titled ResilienSEA—in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning; Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries; Coastal Business Associations; and Private Investors.

Secret Bay’s Contributions to the Blue Economy

Because Secret Bay is located right on the coastline—with guests traveling from thousands of miles away to enjoy it in all its glory—we are especially invested in the health of our sea and shorelines. Some of our everyday practices indirectly affect the ocean: banning single-use plastic, thus preventing trash from ending up in the water and strategically avoiding the use of heavy machinery in our construction. 

But environmentalism often requires more direct contributions. To directly support the health of the shore and sea, we enlisted the help of the Secret Bay Green Team—composed of our Owner, General Manager and led by our staff—constantly assesses operations, implements incremental improvements and sets goals moving forward. This team is responsible for conceptualizing and carrying out our Sustainability Covenants: environmental action plans that guide the development, ownership and stays at Secret Bay, all aligned with Dominica’s overall national objectives. Within these, we’ve outlined the following pledges regarding marine and coastline conservation:

  • Beach and river cleanups 
  • Code of conduct amongst staff members, ensuring we respect and protect the natural habitats of Dominica’s wildlife
  • Using only biodegradable cleaning products and eliminating single-use plastic throughout Secret Bay

A couple of the ways we support the integrity of the coastline is planting vetiver along all cliffs, which helps prevent erosion and runoff into the ocean. We also use silt fences when constructing on the property, which, likewise, helps prevent sediment from polluting the ocean.

Additionally, we have implemented two programs—both of which can double as unique interactive experiences for our guests. These are 1) The Coral Restoration Project and 2) lionfish hunting.

The Coral Restoration Project at Secret Bay is a hands-on learning experience, doubling as a scuba diving excursion for our guests. Under the guidance of local scuba diver and fishmonger Ms. Donna Mitchell, we are able to plant regenerated coral to help combat the effects of climate change on these water-purifying, shoreline-protecting organisms. This project helps provide valuable data to Dominica Fisheries Division and PADI to learn more about the coral reef and how we can support it.

Lionfish Hunting is presented to our guests as an option to catch their own fish, which our chefs can then prepare to their liking at Zing Zing restaurant. How does fishing support Dominica’s environmental goals? Lionfish are an invasive species that, just by being in the local waters, is threatening the natural underwater ecosystem. By hunting this invasive species (which is quite delicious to eat), we’re giving the rest of the animals and plants a fighting chance.

Secret Bay: Where Sustainability Meets Luxury

Renewable energy is just one pillar in our quest for better, more environmentally-friendly operations. Here’s a holistic view of what the intersection of luxury and sustainability looks like at Secret Bay:

  • Eco-friendly construction: Our villas are made of sustainably-sourced Guyanese Greenheart hardwood and built without heavy machinery, allowing us to preserve the surrounding trees.
  • Sustainable food sourcing: We’ve recently installed organic backyard gardens outside of each villa as well as an organic farm to supply fresh food to our restaurants. We even offer guests an opportunity to catch lionfish—an invasive species that threatens the natural marine ecosystem (and happens to taste delicious when prepared by our chefs).
  • Zero tolerance for single-use plastics: We provide our guests with reusable glass water bottles, which they can fill up with filtered water from their villa during their stay.
  • Opting for energy-efficient appliances: Our villas are equipped with fully-stocked kitchens, complete with state-of-the-art energy-efficient appliances for convenience without the impact.
  • Green cleaning: Our staff operates using green practices and EPA-approved products, using biodegradable or reusable tools and resources when appropriate.
  • Coral restoration: Another hands-on experience available to guests is our Coral Restoration Project, in partnership with Project Lead, Donna Mitchell, the Dominica Fisheries Division and PADI. By rehabilitating and planting new, healthy coral, we’re supporting the local fishing economy, the underwater ecosystem and our shorelines.

For these operational standards and our ongoing commitment to the planet, Secret Bay has been recognized as a Green Globe Certified property — one of the highest standards for sustainability worldwide.

Come revel in ethical luxury with us. Inquire here.

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