A volcanic eruption in 1997 forced the relocation of half of Montserrat’s population. Veta Wade became a volcano refugee just as she was graduating from secondary school. Upon her return to Montserrat, Veta was even more committed to learn about ocean and marine life, spending all of her free time with fishermen in the area, feeding her passion. Veta learned to swim on her own, then snorkel. She then answered the call to inspire Caribbean children to become more involved in their own seascape and contribute to the solutions that would save our ocean.
Veta talks with Ocean Host Kate Wing about the formation of Fish 'N Fins, a program to teach children to swim and connect them to marine biology and science. Learning about their local wildlife and coral reefs sparks a transformation, making them catalysts for change in their community and encouraging them to pursue marine science and conservation.
Veta has dedicated most of her life to climate solutions and social justice to enhance ocean health and recovery and build stronger communities. She founded Fish 'N Fins Inc. in 2014, where local children get involved in marine science.
Veta is an aspiring marine ecologist specializing in marine protected areas, underwater imaging systems, and how they interact with each other, as well as with local communities and fisheries.
She works with smart ocean technology projects and work programs that support ecologists, fisheries managers, and citizen scientists. Her overarching goal is to build global collaborations that help mobilize grassroots communities, leaders, and politicians (in small island states and territories) in the blue economy.
Veta's Motivation and Background (1:02-4:02)
- Veta shares her personal experiences and the desire to bridge the gap by providing children with the chance to learn to swim, snorkel, and study marine biology. The eruption of the 1997 volcano and the subsequent relocation of the population motivated Veta to contribute to the island's redevelopment and provide experiences she wished she had as a child.
Veta's Journey into the Ocean (4:03-5:39)
- Veta's journey into the ocean was guided by experienced fishermen who introduced her to the depths and wonders of the marine environment.
Fish 'N Fins Curriculum and Impact (5:40-10:51)
- Fish 'N Fins teaches children to swim, snorkel, and explore marine biology in collaboration with international scientists, NGOs, and ongoing projects to provide hands-on learning experiences.
- Fish 'N Fins started with limited resources but received support from the community, NGOs, and government organizations.
"I realized that we had a huge gap here, there was this incredible beauty there is this incredible value, there is this incredible legacy that we have as Caribbean people. And so few of us know how near what it looks like have been exposed, we have been immersed in it have been able to even work on solutions is just completely out of sight out of mind. And I wanted to change that." - Veta Wade
"So, through Fish and Fins, the children would learn to swim, snorkel. They would then get immersed in marine biology, get to experience science. And we do that through collaboration with international scientists, NGOs, and any projects that are currently happening on the island." - Veta Wade
"I think I have given so much of myself, without getting a bit too woowoo here, but I think I've given so much of myself that in return the universe, the universe has come back to me and has blessed me with a network that is just so genuine and so giving, and so willing to help." - Veta Wade
"It makes for building very great bonds, very strong bonds, and friendships and support systems in circumstances, which can be hard and challenging." - Veta Wade