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Summary of discussion on beach access in Tobago, Caribbean

Number of substantive responses = 31

77% support unrestricted public access to all beaches

  • public beach access is a right of all islanders
  • there needs to be access to the beach and along the beach, as discussed in an ongoing controversy in Bequia
  • legislation and development plans should reflect that beaches are important public resources (equivalent to public parks) and need to protected and shared
  • fully utilise the media and petitions to solve beach access problems
  • even non-violent actions opposing beach access restrictions may result in court cases
  • beach fences have had to physically removed in some islands (e.g. Barbuda, Grenada)

10% support unrestricted public access to most beaches

  • in some islands it may be acceptable for some upscale tourism resorts to restrict public beach access
  • such restrictions should be a collective decision involving all people living in the island
  • public access to entire islands may be restricted

3% support unrestricted public access for recreational purposes (not fishing) to all beaches

  • in some Pacific islands traditional land tenure customs exist which may restrict outsiders from enjoying recreation and fishing at some beaches

10% discussed other issues

  • land ownership by foreigners
  • wise practices in very remote islands

To get involved, contact :


Coastal Regions and Small Islands Platform
UNESCO, Paris, France
fax: +33 1 45 68 58 08

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