Montserrat’s Minister of Agriculture Becomes a Sea Creature in New Book on Ocean Care

Agriculture Minister Claude Hogan and Principal of the Lookout Primary School Denelta Weekes pose with a copy of Message in a Bottle, produced by the Waitt Institute. (DS Media Photo)

Montserrat's Minister of Agriculture Claude Hogan on 14th October 2019 delivered copies of a new children’s book on ocean care to students at Lookout Primary School. The Minister, who is one of the founding members of the Blue Halo Montserrat project, said the book is an initiative developed through the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Ocean Alliance and the In-Deep Project in an effort to educate all about the need to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean. UKOTCF is pleased to have been one of the facilitators of the overall marine programme, in that several years ago it responded to a request from the Government of Montserrat to find help in marine conservation, after UK Government had been unable to assist, by introducing the Waitt Institute to Montserrat.

The Minister has now been immortalised as Claude the Crab in the new book called Message in a Bottle, a new illustrated book, which seeks to educate children about litter and its impacts on the marine environment. Deep-sea litter is a world-wide problem endangering marine life.

The harm caused by plastic pollution is wide-ranging. It chokes wildlife above and below the waterline. An estimated one million sea birds and an unknown number of sea turtles die each year as a result of plastic debris obstructing their digestive tracts, and marine animals of all sorts can become tangled and incapacitated by discarded fishing lines and plastic bags. The effects of plastics carrying toxicity throughout the marine food chain is still being researched, with the implications for human health yet to be understood.

Minister Hogan said he was delighted to share the books with the students and the schools and he hopes the books help to bring further understanding of the environment and will encourage the children to become future ambassadors of the ocean.

450 years is the length of time a plastic bottle can last in the marine environment.

Download the book here.