The small islands of Bimini (North and South Bimini) have long been revered by adventurers and explorers. The closest of the Bahamas islands to Florida, Bimini’s warm culture, rich ecology & a colorful history all blend to create a place that is a true paradise for visitors and locals alike and deserves preservation so the next generation of Bahamians and visitors can continue to enjoy all that it has to offer. The history of Bimini is abound with mysteries and legends, but what first truly put these islands on the map was the fish. Famed author Ernest Hemingway made Bimini his home in the early part of the 20th century, drawn to the island for its pristine beauty & abundant marine life. Over the years the waters around Bimini have produced a number of world record catches. Exotic coral reefs now play host to divers and underwater enthusiasts. Wild dolphins invite guests to join them in the crystal clear waters. A safe, friendly community continues to welcome everyone who arrives. And of course, the fishing is still fantastic.
Closer to shore the mangrove fringed lagoons, quiet beaches and welcoming palm trees all help create a landscape like no other. Drawn by the islands’ serene shallow water ecosystems, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Bimini numerous times, and even found inspiration for some of his famous speeches while touring the serene mangrove creeks. The islands of Bimini have drawn hundreds of scientific researchers over the last several decades, and served as host for both the Lerner Marine Laboratory and the Bimini Biological Field Station.
As the only mangrove habitat on the western Great Bahama Bank, Bimini serves as critically important nursery habitat for everything from conch & lobster, to snapper and sharks. Flushed daily by the warm, rich waters of the Gulf Stream, Bimini’s marine habitats are some of the most important, and the most studied in all of the Bahamas. The mangroves & seagrass of Bimini’s North Sound lagoon provide habitat for over 370 species of fish and invertebrates.
Recognizing the ecological & economic value of preserving the island’s marine life, the Government of the Bahamas declared Bimini the highest-priority site in the Bahamas for a proposed Marine Protected Area in the year 2000. The area selected for preservation was Bimini’s North Sound lagoon, perhaps the most studied marine nursery in the world. Over 20 years of scientific research has taken place in this one area of Bimini, and every study has consistently proven its importance as an ecosystem. This proposed Marine Reserve is supported by local Biminites, concerned tourists, and the scientific community.
In addition to the reefs, wetlands and fishing grounds Bimini is home to a variety of Protected, Threatened & Endangered Species including, but not limited to: Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus), Smalltooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata), Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kirtland’s Warblers (Dendroica kirtlandii), Loggerhead Turtles (Caretta caretta), Great Hammerhead Sharks (Sphyrna mokarran), and the endemic Bimini Boa (Chilabothrus strigilatus fosteri).