• Location:
    • Independent state and easternmost island of the West Indies. It lies east of Saint Vincent and the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.
  • Area:
    • Total: 431 sq km
    • Water: 0 sq km
    • Land: 431 sq km
  • Coastline:
    • 97 km
  • Maritime claims:
    • Exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
    • Territorial sea: 12 NM
  • Natural resources:
    • Petroleum, fish, natural gas


  • Population: 277,264 (July 2003 est.)
  • Nationality: Noun: Barbadian(s) or Bajan (colloquial); Adjective: Barbadian or Bajan (colloquial)
  • Ethnic groups: black 90%, white 4%, Asian and mixed 6%
  • Religions: Protestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, other 12%
  • Languages: English


  • Country name: Conventional short form: Barbados
  • Government type: parliamentary democracy; independent sovereign state within the Commonwealth
  • Capital: Bridgetown
  • Administrative divisions: 11 parishes; Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas; note - the city of Bridgetown may be given parish status
  • International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO


  • Inflation rate (consumer prices): -0.6% (2002 est.)
  • Industries: tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export
  • Agriculture - products: sugarcane, vegetables, cotton
  • Exports: $227 million (2002)
  • Exports - commodities: sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components
  • Imports: $987 million (2002)
  • Imports - commodities: consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components
  • Currency: Barbadian dollar (BBD)

National Policy

  • Marine Affairs Policy
  • Marine Science & Research Policy
  • Coastal Area Policy:

    A comprehensive Coastal Zone Management Plan for the island of Barbados is in the process of being developed. Two Acts have been derived from this Plan, (which are presently pending). The Coastal Management Act and the Marine Pollution Control Act. Data collection has been completed for the West and South Coasts, and a project is ongoing for the North, East and South East coasts. This project is the responsibility of the Coastal Zone Unit of the Ministry of Health and the Environment. Additionally, the Unit has other responsibilities which are compiled in the following list:

    Functions of the Coastal Zone Management Unit: Marine Biology, Coastal Planning, Coastal Engineering, Benthic marine surveys, Coastal planning application assessments, Routine beach profile monitoring, Routine reef monitoring, Coastal geomorphic information system, Coastal structures inventory and monitoring, Water quality monitoring, Coastal Area Action Plans, Sea defense work design and engineering assessments, Wave climate collection and analyses, Tide level data collection and analysis, Coastal planning application assessments

  • Environment Policy:

    The Environmental Management and Land Use Planning for Sustainable Development project is presently being carried out by the Environment Division of the Ministry of Health and the Environment. The relevant objectives are as follows:
    • To establish national policy priorities for natural resource management
    • To formulate an environmentally sensitive framework and land use plan to govern land use development for the next ten years

    The programme is divided into 3 sub programmes:
    • Environmental planning, legislation and Management
    • National Park System
    • Land use Policy and Planning


    The further commitment to the health of the marine and terrestrial environment, is evident in the present and pending legislation as well as the conventions ratified to date which focus on environmental management.

    Present Legislation:

        Marine Areas Preservation and Enhancement. Cap 392, 1976. This makes provision for the declaration of certain areas as marine reserves to protect the marine life. The Minister may designate these areas.

        National Conservation Commission. Cap 393, 1982. Confers the responsibility for maintenance, public access, security (rangers), lifeguard service, and informal commercial activity at all beaches to the National Conservation Commission. The beach is defined as the land adjoining the foreshore for 33m. Landward.

        Marine Boundaries and Jurisdiction. Cap 387, 1979. Defines the Exclusive Economic Zone as 200 miles from the nearest point of baselines of territorial waters. The Government of Barbados has rights and jurisdiction over the use and management of the natural living and non living resources.

        Town and Country Planning, Cap 240, 1968. The Act provides for the orderly development of land, including that underlying the island’s territorial waters. No gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure to be erected closer than 30ft, from High Water Mark.

        Health Services, Cap 44, 1969. The Act gives the Minister of Health responsible for regulations with respect to sewers and sewage disposal works as well as the inspection and sanitary conditions of beaches and swimming pools in the interest of public health.

        Oil in Navigable Waters, Cap 394, 1927. The fouling (terrestrial or from vessels) of territorial waters and harbours with oil is prohibited.

        Fisheries Regulation, Cap 391, 1904. Regulation of turtle, sea egg and whale capture. Prohibits the use of explosives and noxious substances for catching fish.

        Beach Protection, Cap 389, 1890. Prohibits the removal of beach sediment from the foreshore by boat or vehicle.

    Pending Legislation:

        Fisheries Act. This allows for system of closed seasons and closed áreas for sea eggs, makes the sale of corals, turtles and their products illegal, makes the fishing of berried lobsters illegal, as well as making provision for appropriate fishing techniques and gear. This Act is administered by the Fisheries Division.

        Coastal Management Act. This incorporate and updates aspects of the Beach Protection Act:

        Makes the harvesting or sale of coral illegal and has set penalties for breaching of this law.

        Makes the removal of beach vegetation from a prohibited area illegal.

        Allows for the appointment of environmental inspectors who will have the power to arrest, without the use of warrants any one caught committing an offence under the Act.

        This Act will be administered by the Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit and allows for the adoption of a Coastal Management Plan.

        Marine Pollution Act. This provides for controls over point-source discharges to the coastal area of Barbados. It is administered by the Environmental Engineering Division.

    Conventions Ratified:

        Convention on Biological Diversity. Aimed at conserving biological diversity and allowing for the fair sharing of any of the benefits derived. The obligations include developing national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources, establishing protected areas and restoring degraded habitats.

        United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The primary focus is on achieving stable levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The obligations include the promotion of sustainable management of sinks or reservoirs of greenhouse gases and this includes oceans, and coastal and marine ecosystems, as well as developing integrated plans for coastal zone management.

        Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. This control the trade of coastal and marine species, such as corals and some fishes and plants.

        United Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This allows for the resolution of maritime, marine resources, boundaries and shipping and management issues within a global framework. The obligations allow for the regulation and control of pollution, protection of marine environment, safety of vessels, and conservation and management of living resources of the sea among others.

        Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. This is aimed at controlling the movement of hazardous wastes, and minimizing its generation. The disposal of the wastes has to carried out in an environmentally sound manner.

        Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean (CARTAGENA CONVENTION). The protection and development of the marine environment is the chief function. It allows for the control of pollution from ships, land based sources, and sea bed activities. It also provides for the protection of fragile ecosystems and the preparation of contingency plans.

        Protocol to the Cartagena Convention Concerning Co-operation in Combating Oil Spills in the Wider Caribbean Región. Provides a framework for the mutual assistance in prevention and response to oil spills from a regional perspective.

        International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and Protocol of 1978 relating to the International Convention for the prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

      These all deal with waste management form marine vessels.

Institutional Structure:

      Director, Coastal Zone Management Unit


      Dr. Leo Brewster




      Coastal Zone Management Unit


      Bay Street, St. Michael, Barbados


      Tel: (246) 228 5950


      Fax: (246) 228 5956


      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      Permanent Secretary, Environment Division


      Sir Frank Walcott Building


      Ministry of Health and the Environment


      Colloden Road, St. Michael


      T:(246)431-7680 Fax:(246) 437-8859


      E-mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      Chief Fisheries Officer, Fisheries Division


      Dr. Patrick McConney


      Hinks Street, Bridgetown, St. Michael


      T: (246) 426-3745 Fax: (246) 436-9068

      Environmental Engineering Division


      Dr. Jeffrey Headly


      Chief Environmental Engineer


      Jemmotts Lane, St. Michael


      T: (246) 436-4826 Fax: (246) 228-7103

      Centre for Resources Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES)


      Professor Oliver Headly


      Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies


      Cave Hill, St. Michael


      T: (246) 417-4316 Fax: (246) 424-4204


      E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      Bellairs Research Institute


      Professor Wayne Hunte


      Holetown, St. James


      T: (246) 422-2087 Fax: (246) 429-4854


      E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

National Focal Point for IOCARIBE

      Ms. Lorna Inniss, Ph. D


      Deputy Director


      Coastal Zone Management Unit


      Bay Street


      St. Michael, Barbados


      Tel: (246) 228-5950


      Fax: (246) 228- 5956


      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For updated information about Barbados visit their Central Intelligence Agency Factsheet.