Sustainable Grenadines (SusGren) Inc, an integrated development and biodiversity conservation NGO operating the Grenadines Islands, recently trained staff from six marine protected areas from Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines were in lionfish capture and handling. The training exercise was conducted August 28 – 30, 2013 during a Networking Meeting in Carriacou – Grenada.
The lionfish is an invasive species that poses a threat to native reef fish in the Caribbean Sea. Their voracious appetites, coupled with their rapid reproductive rate, are making lionfish a major obstacle in marine conservation.
Their management is necessary for the health of the fisheries and tourism industries, which are the basis of livelihoods for many people in Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
To help address this threat, rangers/wardens from the two countries had the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the capture and handling of lionfish. The marine protected areas that were represented from St. Vincent and the Grenadines included the Tobago Cays Marine Park, Mustique Marine Conservation Area and the South Coast Marine Conservation Area. On the Grenada end, the Sandy Island/Oyster Bed, Woburn/Clark’s Court and Moliniere-Beausjour Marine Protected Areas were represented.
This was the third annual networking meeting for the marine protected areas of the Grenadines, a group which was originally established in 2011.
Other areas of focus during the three-day meeting were the sharing of best management practices for coral reef conservation, the importance of mangrove ecosystems and marine law enforcement. On the last day of the event, some 20 local school children took part with the rangers/wardens in a series of outdoor marine education activities organized in association with the KIDO Foundation.
Woburn/Clark’s Court Marine Protected Area and the South Coast Marine Conservation Area became the newest members to join the Network of Marine Protected Areas of the Grenada Bank, pledging to collaborate with the network to ensure effective marine protected area management and to promote the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources.
This initiative is made possible by The Ocean Foundation and the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative of the Organization of American States.