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Grenada Country Profile
Legislative and institutional framework governing the protection of coral reefs

(1) Overview of legislative framework for environmental protection
  –  Enforcement of environmental legislation
(2) Designation of marine protected areas (MPAs)
(3) Laws providing explicit protections for coral and other marine life
  –  Provisions for nongovernmental research and restoration projects
  –  Enforcement of explicit provisions protecting coral reefs
(4) Coastal zone development and environmental impact assessment (EIA)
Enforcement of coastal zone development and EIA requirements
(5) Other legislation: land-based and marine pollution
(6) Multilateral Environmental Agreements

1. Overview of legislative framework for environmental protection
The passage of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Act ("ICZM Act") in 2019 modernized Grenada's legal framework for coral reef protection from an incohesive body of legacy legislation to a comprehensive law that facilitates the integrated management of the country's coastal resources.1 The ICZM Act coordinates and rationalizes rules and restrictions relating to direct human impacts on coral reefs, as well as redefining the roles government institutions in connection with many important aspects of regulatory oversight of Grenada's marine resources and adjacent coastline.2 In addition, the ICZM Act established a new authority—the Director of Integrated Coastal Zone Management—under the Ministry of Climate Resilience, the Environment, Forestry, Fisheries, Disaster Management and Information, allowing for more consolidated oversight of the coastal zone.3

The ICZM Act calls for the Director of Integrated Coastal Zone Management to prepare s draft Coastal Zone Management Plan that comprises strategies, and standards for the management and conservation of coastal resources, including inter alia standards for environmental impact assessment (EIA), water quality, public access, and activities that modify marine environments.4

Under the ICZM Act, coral reefs, seagrass beds, wetlands (e.g., mangroves) and all other coastal ecosystems, as well as "the flora and fauna found in them" are encompassed in the term coastal resource, a legal designation that affords them protected treatment throughout the text of the Act.5

In Grenada, the legislative basis for the protection of coral reefs is primarily contained in the Grenada Fisheries Act (1986) ("the Act"), the Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations 1996 (S.R.O No. 24 of 1996), and Fisheries (Marine Protected Areas) Regulations (Cap. 108) (2001, consolidated in 2013), as well as the Development and Planning Law (addressing impacts from land-based sources). The Fisheries Act authorizes the Minister (the agency head to whom the administration of fisheries is currently assigned) to declare any area of its territorial waters and adjoining land to be a Marine Protected Area through the publication of an Order in the legislative Gazette.6

Enforcement of environmental legislation
The ICZM Act, the Grenada Fisheries Act, and the regulations under the latter prescribe the powers of conservation officers, offenses, enforcement, and penalties in the context of coastal zone management and the protection of marine life. These are described in detail under Enforcement of explicit provisions protecting coral reefs below.

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2. Designation of marine protected areas (MPAs)
Under Part III of the ICZM Act, the Minister may, in consultation with the Director of the Fisheries Division and members of the public, designate any part of the coastal zone as a restricted area or a prohibited area to achieve any of a specified list of objectives.7 These include the preservation of natural beauty, the protection or rehabilitation of flora and fauna, the protection archaeological or historic sites, the promotion of public enjoyment, and/or the advancement of scientific study and research.8 The Act makes it an offense to remove any living or nonliving element form either of the two types of MPA.9 The Minister may also designate species of special concern if the species meets risk criteria defined in Section 15 of the Act.10

A marine area with protected status may be established by order to achieve any of four purposes, including (a) protecting natural breeding grounds and aquatic habitats for flora and fauna, (b) allowing the regeneration of depleted marine life, (c) promoting scientific study and research, and (d) preserving and enhancing the natural beauty of these areas.11 Similarly, the Minister is empowered to issue regulations covering a broad range of issues, including the management of protected areas and the taking of coral or shells.12 An operator of a vessel used for diving or charters must obtain and carry a permit to use or moor in protected areas, submit a log of dives conducted to authorities on a monthly basis, and pay a fee for each dive or charter passenger.13

The ICZM Act retains and incorporates by reference four categories of MPAs defined in the Fisheries (Marine Protected Areas) Regulations ("MPAR"), which define an MPA as "an area declared as such by the Minister by order under section 23 of the Fisheries Act and may be either a marine park, a marine reserve, a marine sanctuary or a marine historical site or a combination of those."14 In Grenada, MPAs are usually comprised of multiple zones corresponding to each of the four designations in order to support different types of uses. The four categories of MPA serve the following purposes:

  • Marine Park: An MPA that is reserved for public recreational purposes.
  • Marine Reserve: An MPA that requires special management in order to protect the natural resources existing in that area.
  • Marine Sanctuary: An MPA that is open solely for scientific study and research objectives.
  • Marine Historical Site: An MPA "which contains structures, artifacts or human remains and which needs to be protected for its historical or cultural value."15

Management of MPAs
The Fisheries (Marine Protected Areas) Regulations mandate the appointment of a Management Authority consisting of a Manager and a Management Committee composed of representatives of government agencies, the Grenada Coast Guard, and the Port Authority, as well as from Grenadian yachting and diving associations. The Management Authority is authorized to designate "any or all" of up to nine types zones within an MPA. Different types of uses are permitted within each of type of zones, which include inter alia access zones (boat and vehicle access and egress to and from the shore), aquatic sports zones (including snorkeling and SCUBA), anchoring zones, and fishing zones.16

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3. Laws providing explicit protections for coral and other marine life
The ICZM Act prohibits any persons from directly harming coral and other marine life, by breaking off pieces of coral or harvesting coral and other marine life for commercial trade, except where a permit or other authorization has been obtained.17 The use of explosives or poisonous chemicals to kill or stun fish to aid in harvesting them is also prohibited.18 There is a presumption that any explosives or poisons found on board a vessel are intended to be used for illegal harvesting of fish and other marine life.19 Willful or negligent acts that result in physical damage to coral, fish, and other marine life are also prohibited under the ICZM Act.20

The Fisheries Act and the Marine Protected Areas Regulations also prohibit a range of activities in Marine Protected Areas, except in the case of official government authorization. Under the Act and the Regulations, it is an offense to take or destroy fauna (including coral and other invertebrates) other than fish, extract material from the sea floor, discharge pollutants or waste, or otherwise disturbing the marine environment.21 In addition, the 2001 Regulations make it an offense to anchor or moor a vessel other than at a designated anchoring zone or buoy, to cause anchor damage to coral, or to discharge trash, hazardous wastes, sewage, oil, pesticides or other harmful substances into the sea.22 Finally, the 1996 Fisheries Regulations prohibit boat owners from striking coral through the negligent operation of their vessels and prohibit divers from touching or standing on coral.23

Note: Some legal protections for coral reefs lying outside of restricted areas are also applicable through the country's commitments under the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention), through which Grenada committed to protect four threatened species of coral listed in Annex II to the SPAW Protocol, which the country ratified in 2012.24

Prohibited activities within marine protected areas
if official authorization has not been obtained
Laws and Regulations
Entry into a Marine Protected Area (MPA):
(Varies by the category of MPA and zone within a MPA)
MPAR §§ (6)-(11)
Use of a boat, motorized watercraft, water skiing equipment, or diving equipment in a MPA (Varies by the category of MPA and zone within an MPA) MPAR §§ (6)-(11); FAR § 24(b).
Fishing or attempting to fish GFA § 26(2)(a)
Taking, harming, or destroying marine life or any other coastal resource ICZM Act § 12(4), 13(4), 19(4); GFA § 23(2)(a),(b); MPAR § 6(1)(a),(b),(d)
Taouching or standing on coral MPAR § FAR § 24(d)(3).
Dredging, extracting sand or gravei, or otherwise disturbing the seabed GFA § 23(2)(c)
Discharging waste and pollutants into the water (sewage, trash, petroleum products, chemicals, or other waste) GFA § 23(2)(c); FAR § 24(a); MPAR § 6(1)(h)
Use of explosives to hunt / kill fish ICZM Act § 21; GFA § 25
Anchoring or mooring other than at an authorized buoy or dock MPAR § 6(1)(e) and (g), FAR 24(c) and (d); 2001 Regs §§ 13 and 14
Damaging coral with an anchor or vessel grounding 1996 FAR § 24(3) and (7); GFA 23(2)(c); MPAR § 6(1)(f); FAR 24(d)(4).
Engaging in research without authorization or in violation of conditions ICZM Act § 20; GFA 24(3)
Placing of artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices GFA § 2(o), the Minister may regulate these
Required acts (dive boat or charter operators)
Liability of the captain and crew of a boat for violations by its passengers GFA 28(3)
Submit a monthly log of dives conducted MPAR §§ 14(1) and 19
Fees per dives or per passenger 2001 FAR § 14
Prohibited anywhere within the territorial waters of Grenada:
Removal or trade of designated endangered species CITES treaty
Harvesting, buying, selling, importing or exporting any form of marine life or products made from coral without authorization ICZM Act § 19(1) and (2).

Abbreviations used above: ICZM Act Integrated Coastal Zone Management Act of 2019; GFA = Grenada Fisheries Act of 1986; 1987 FR = Fisheries Regulations of 1987; 1996 FAR = Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations of 1996; 2001 FAR = Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations of 2001; MPAR = Fisheries (Marine Protected Areas) Regulations (Cap. 108) of 2013.

Legal requirements for nongovernmental research and restoration projects
Under the Fisheries Act, the Minister (of Climate Resilience, The Environment, Forestry, Fisheries & Disaster Management) may grant permission for undertaking research within Grenada's territorial waters, if the entity applying for permission submits a fisheries research plan that is subsequently approved by the Chief Fisheries Officer.25 The Minister may impose conditions that s/he deems appropriate for the research project and the authorization (including exemptions from statutory prohibitions) must be in writing.26 Anyone convicted of undertaking or assisting in research without permission or in violation of the conditions of the authorization is guilty of an offense and is liable for a fine of up to $1,000 upon summary conviction.

Enforcement of explicit provisions protecting coral reefs
Enforcement actions are undertaken by appointed marine park wardens or police officers.27 The ICZM Act authorizes police officers to arrest persons without a warrant if they are found actively removing coral or other marine life from a protected or restricted area or aiding and abetting them (such as a dive or charter boat operator).28 Police officers may also stop, search and seize vehicles or vessels "reasonably suspected" of being used in the commission of an offense or where evidence of an offense would be found.29 Finally, a police officer may require the production of documents that the officer reasonably believes contains information pertinent to an offense or which the vessel operator is required to keep on board.30 An officer must bring any person arrested for an offense (e.g., removing marine life without authorization) before a magistrate "as soon as reasonably practicable."31

Enforcement personnel are empowered to stop, board, and search any vessel without a warrant.32 In addition, officers may seize any vessel (along with gear, cargo, and marine life) that he or she has reason to believe has been taken or used in the commission of an offense.33 In the case of violations by passengers or crew on a dive boat, the master of the vessel is liable for their illegal acts.34

Under Section 33 of the ICZM Act, any person who is convicted on indictment of violating the Act's provisions is liable for a fine of up to $100,000 (including the value of any property seized), to imprisonment for up to five years, or both. On summary conviction, a person found guilty is liable for a fine $5,000 and/or up to two years of imprisonment. In addition, if a magistrate determines that a boat that has been seized belongs to a person convicted of an offense, he or she may order the boat to be forfeited.35 Those found guilty of violating the 2001 Regulations may be liable for a fine of up to $10,000 Grenadian dollars and/or imprisonment to six months.36 For continuing violations after a conviction, offenders are liable for additional fines of up to $200 per day.37 For offenses not explicitly specified in the Act, violators may be subject to a maximum fine of up to $5,000 Grenadian dollars.38 Those who cause damage to Marine Protected Areas (including coral reef features) are liable for the full cost of repairing the damage.39

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4. Coastal zone development and environmental impact assessment (EIA)
Grenada shares its legacy of a "Town and Country" development planning model with other former British colonies in the Caribbean and elsewhere. Under this administrative approach, a government body was responsible for reviewing and approving new construction or major renovations, as well as new uses. The legacy legislation and implementing agency were repealed and replaced with the enactment of the Physical Planning and Development Control Act (No. 25 of 2002)("PPDCA") and its amendments, which established the current system for regulatory oversight and planning of development.40

The objectives of the PPDCA include "ensur[ing] that appropriate and sustainable use are made of all publicly-owned and privately-owned land in Grenada," as well as protecting and conserving Grenada's natural and cultural heritage, among others.41 Under the provisions of the PPDCA, no person may undertake any development of land without the permission of the Planning and Development Authority (PDA, formerly known as the Development Control Authority).42 In addition, any new development or major land use change within the coastal zone normally requires the proponents to carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA).43

Since both the ICZM Act and PPDCA address overlapping concerns with respect to coastal zone development activities and their impacts on marine ecosystems, cooperation between the statutory government bodies under these Acts is necessary. The PDA, through its Physical Planning Unit (PPU) is responsible for signing and issuing all notices granting or denying permission for the development of land, enforcement notices, stop notices and other documents authorized by the PDA.44 All applications for land development must be evaluated for consistency with Grenada's Physical Development Plan.45

When evaluating proposals for new development projects in the coastal zone or new uses of existing developed land and beachfront, the PPU must consult with any governmental or non-governmental organizations having an "interest the matters for which proposals may me made", including during the review of EIA studies.46 If the PDA determines that an EIA is required, it must notify any government agency or department not to issue any licenses, permits, or other authorizations until the PDA notifies them that it has granted the primary authorization for development.47 In addition, the PDA may require the applicant to furnish a bond or other form of guarantee in order to ensure compliance with the conditions of development approval.48

Enforcement of coastal zone development and EIA requirements
If it appears to the PDA that (a) development without permission or noncompliance with conditions of approval (e.g., plans for mitigating coastal erosion or construction runoff), the PDA may issue an enforcement notice if the violations conflict with the applicable physical development plan for an area or the project proponent does not comply with conditions of project approval.49 The enforcement notice specifies the steps that the proponent/licensee must undertake to correct the violations (including possibly restoring the land to its original condition) and the time period for completing these requirements.50 If an owner or operator of an approved activity has received an enforcement notice and fails to carry out any of the remedial actions the notice has prescribed, the PDA—through its staff or contractors—may enter the premises and carry out the required remediation.51 It may take any steps necessary to recover the reasonable costs incurred by the PDA from the noncompliant party.52

If the PDA has already served an enforcement notice in connection with an unauthorized activity or noncompliance with the conditions an approved activity, but determines that it is necessary to immediately stop further work to prevent environmental damage, the PDA may serve a stop notice.53 A stop notice may be served on anyone who has an interest in the land where the activity is being carried out or is otherwise involved in the activity.54 In addition to exercising its authority to issue enforcement and stop notices, the PDA may institute a civil action for an injunction to prevent a noncompliant party from taking any further steps that violate the PPDCA or the terms of project approval.55

Sanctions for violations of EIA requirements
The PPDCA authorizes the PDA to impose fines of up to $10,000 for the following offenses and an additional $500 per day for continuing violations in the following cases:56

  • Failure to perform the steps required in an enforcement notice in the specified timeframe.
  • Continuation of any prohibited act following receipt of an enforcement notice.
  • Continuation of specified use of the premises after receiving a stop notice.

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5. Other legislation: land-based and marine pollution
Several pollution laws are particularly pertinent to the protection of coral reefs. The Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage Act (1985) implements the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, requiring all ships transporting oil to carry a certificate of insurance for potential spills.57 If convicted of not carrying the required insurance, the Act imposes a fine of up to $500,000 (Eastern Caribbean Dollars) on the owner of the ship and, for subsequent convictions, a fine of up to two million dollars.58

6. Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) to which Grenada is a signatory

Title of Convention Ratification or
Accession Date
Cartagena Convention Aug. 17, 1987
Protocol Concerning Oil Spills (Oil Spill Protocol to the Cartagena Convention) Aug. 17, 1987
Protocol Concerning Pollution From Land Based Sources And Activities in the Wider Caribbean Region (LBS Protocol to the Cartagena Convention) Mar. 5, 2012
Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife in the Wider Caribbean Region (SPAW Protocol to the Cartagena Convention) Mar. 5, 2012
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity Feb. 5, 2004
Vienna Convention Mar. 31, 1993
Montreal Protocol Mar. 31, 1993
Nagoya Protocol Sep. 22, 2011
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Nov. 28, 1999
UN Convention on Biological Diversity Aug. 11, 1994
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Aug. 11, 1994
Kyoto Protocol Aug. 6, 2002
Paris Agreement Apr. 22, 2016
The United Nations Convention on Wetlands (RAMSAR Convention) May 22, 2012
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) Apr. 25, 1991
UN Convention to Combat Desertification May 28, 1997
Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the CaribbeanSep. 26, 2019
Source: InforMEA, Grenada, https://www.informea.org/en/countries/GD/parties and Cartagena Convention: Who are we?.

xx. "Registrable Facilities" include any industrial, commercial, agricultural, institutional, or sewage treatment location located "within the environment, " as well as "any premises, vehicles, buildings, process, equipment, development, or natural or man-made structure at such location, from which water pollutants may be released."

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1. Integrated Coastal Zone Management Act (ICZM Act), 8 (August, 2019).

2. Due to many overlapping concerns, this role is coordinated with Ministry of Fisheries.

3. ICZM Act, § 26; Section 26(1) provides that the Director of Integrated Coastal Zone Management, who may be a public servant, is responsible for the day to day administration and supervision of the staff of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Unit and the implementation of the Coastal Zone Management Policy. Paragraph (2) states that the Director is responsible for advising "all Ministers, Boards, Commissions and other statutory authorities" with respect to integrated coastal zone management under the ICZM Act and under any legislation that affects the conservation and management of coastal resources. The Director is required to take reasonable steps to enforce the ICZM Act's provisions and any other legal and regulatory requirements related to coastal zone management and conservation.

4. ICZM Act, § 4(1).

5. ICZM Act § 2; Mangroves are implicitly included under "wetlands and other ecosystems found along the shore."

6. The term "marine reserve" as used in the original text of the Act was changed to "Marine Protected Areas" in the 2001 Regulations and include a number of categories: Marine Parks and Historical Sites (open to all), Marine Reserves (terrestrial visits to the shoreline only), and Marine Sanctuaries (open only to authorized research personnel).

7. ICZM Act, §§ 12(1)(a)-(e) and 13(1)(a)-(e).

8. Id.

9. Except by or on behalf of the Director.

10. Under Section 15(2) of the ICZM Act, the Director may issue notices requiring the implementation of precautionary measures to protect "species of special concern" which are impacted by coastal zone development, taking into account the following considerations: "(a) the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (b) overutilisation for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (c) disease or predation; (d) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (e) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence."

11. Grenada Fisheries Act of 1986, § 23(1)(a)–(d).

12. ICZM Act § 40(2)(q).

13. Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations of 2001, §§ 13 and 14.

14. Fisheries (Marine Protected Areas) Regulations (MPAR), S.R.O. 78 (2001, as amended in 2013), § 2.

15. MPAR, § 2.

16. Id. at § 11.

17. Id. at §§ 19(4) and 20.

18. ICZM Act, § 22.

19. ICZM Act, § 22(3).

20. ICZM Act, § 22(2).

21. Marine Protected Areas Regulation, § 6(1)(a), (b), and (d); Fisheries Act, § 23(1).

22. Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations of 2001, § 6(e)-((g), (l); 1996 § 24 (4)-(7).

23. Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations of 1996, § 24 (3) and (7).

24. The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) in the Wider Caribbean Region, Annex II, the text of the protocol is available at http://www.car-spaw-rac.org/IMG/pdf/spaw-protocol-en.pdf.

25. Fisheries Act § 24(1).

26. Fisheries Act § 24(2) and (4).

27. Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations of 2001, §. 21.

28. ICZM Act, § 16(a) and (b).

29. ICZM Act, §§ 16(c) and 30(3)(c) and (d).

30. ICZM Act, 30(3)(e) and (f).

31. ICZM Act § 16.

32. Fisheries Act, § 28(1)(a).

33. Fisheries Act, § 28(c) and (d).

34. Fisheries Act, § 32.

35. ICZM Act § 22(7).

36. Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations of 2001, § 22(1).

37. Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations of 2001, § 22(2).

38. Fisheries Act, § 40(3).

39. Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations of 2001, 22(3)(b).

40. The Town and Country Planning Act (Cap. 322) and the Land Development Control Act (Cap. 160) have been repealed and replaced by the Physical Planning and Development Control Act.

41. Physical Planning and Development Control Act (PPDCA) § 4(1)(a) and (e).

42. PPDCA § § 5(1) and 19; "land" includes coastal land, the beach, and the sea floor; Under the PPDCA, the former Development Control Authority has been continued as the Planning and Development Authority; Section 25(1) states that the PDA "may" require an EIA study for any development application.

43. PPDCA, Second Schedule, Matters for which an Environmental Impact Assessment is Normally Required] also see p. 543.

44. PPDCA, § 8.

45. PPDCA, § 18 states that The PPU "must make the prescriptions of the plan a principal consideration in determining any application for permission to develop land."

46. PPDCA, § 15(1)(a).

47. PPDCA, § 25(6).

48. PPDCA, § 26(5).

49. PPDCA, Part V, Enforcement of Development Control § 34(2).

50. PPDCA, § 34(2).

51. PPDCA, § 37(1).

52. Id.

53. ICZM Act, § 36(1).

54. ICZM Act, § 36(2).

55. ICZM Act, § 39.

56. PPDCA, § 38.

57. Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (International Convention) Act, 1995 (Cap. 54B)., § 7; Certificate of Insurance has the meaning defined in Article VII of the Convention.

58. Id. at § 8.