The SeaiTT mobile can be downloaded for iOS and Android platforms. (Image courtesy Ministry of Planning and Development)

A new environmental mobile application launched by the Ministry of Planning and Development is making it possible for every citizen to become a true steward and protector of the marine environment.

The Sea Information of Trinidad and Tobago—or SeaiTT for short—allows citizens to report sightings of lionfish and other invasive species wreaking havoc on the T&T environment, as well as to report oil spills and Sargassum seaweed. Citizens also can use the app to report any illegal activity spotted in the marine environment.

The app also provides vital marine information, including access maps to beaches, as well as updates on tides, currents, and sea swells.  The Ministry also describes it as “an environmental emergency response platform”.

The latest entry into Government’s suite of digital products, SeaiTT was developed by the Ministry and officially launched on Friday 6 November 2020, by the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI). It is T&T’s first ever marine environmental mobile application.

Planning and Development Minister, with responsibility for the environment, Camille Robinson-Regis MP, asserts:

“The first ever SeaiTT mobile application supports Government’s digitalization drive, giving a boost to environmental management and preservation, while enhancing citizens’ appreciation of our precious marine environment.”

She is encouraging citizens of Trinidad and Tobago to get the SeaiTT app. 

“This new platform facilitates citizen participation in environmental management and preservation, allowing anyone who downloads the app to launch reports with images of any environmentally destructive marine activity to the IMA, who will then take the necessary actions to address,” Minister Robinson-Regis explains in a Ministry release. 

“This allows a large part of the population to be extra eyes, working to help the IMA manage our marine ecosystems,” the minister said.

The lionfish is an invasive species destroying local coral reefs and feeding indiscriminately on other reef species. (Image courtesy Ministry of Planning and Development)

Acting Director of the IMA, Dr. Rahanna Juman further underscores the minister’s point.

“The SeaiTT mobile app will offer IMA the means to collate and analyse the data collected to see long term patterns, trends and relationships, which no doubt will add another layer to the IMA’s research and environmental monitoring initiatives,” Dr Juman stated during the official launch of the app last Friday.

And Marie Hinds, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and Development, observed:

“The SeaiTT app literally places power in the hands of citizens to positively contribute to Trinidad and Tobago’s environmental preservation and management.”

Minister Robinson-Regis says the launch of the app is timely, for many reasons, especially given that gradual measures are being taken to open T&T’s beaches which have been closed for a significant amount of time due to COVID-19.

She also pointed to recent international accolades for Tobago’s environmental resources and management.

“North East Tobago received a prestigious UNESCO designation as a Man and Biosphere Reserve in October, the largest in the English speaking Caribbean,” the minister points out. “We want to maintain this status and give ourselves the opportunity for more of our environmental spaces to be given international recognition.”

She adds: “This will benefit our tourism product and the financial viability of our environmental resources, which—according to the 5th National Report of Trinidad and Tobago to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2017—are valued in the region of US $100 million per year in terms of soil protection, water purification services, as well as recreation and tourism-based activities.”

The SeaiTT mobile can be downloaded for iOS and Android platforms.