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SKN to Beat Marine Litter and Micro Plastics Pollution

The first meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Micro plastics established by the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya was conducted from Tuesday 29th – Thursday 31st May 2018. The representative from St. Kitts and Nevis was Tricia Greaux, MMA and Habitat Monitoring Officer -Department of Marine Resources.

Tuesday 29 May, the Permanent Mission of Mexico to UNEP currently chairs the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) also met to determine which country would serve as the representative of the GRULAC. Columbia received an overwhelming vote to be selected as the Co-Chair of the Ad hoc Open-ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Micro plastics.

The #BeatPlasticPollution campaign that was also promoted during the conference. Delegates were encouraged to use their social media platforms, personal and professional, to promote the message of reducing single use plastic.

The delegate would lend her expertise to the organizing of the 2nd annual St. Kitts and Nevis Plastic Free July month of activities to further spread the message #BeatPlasticPollution on a national level.

Exert from the position paper presented from St. Kitts and Nevis’ delegate

St. Kitts and Nevis should be described as a large oceanic state as its marine space exceeds the land mass by a significant acreage. Therefore, pollutants within the marine environment are of dire concern to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
As the Officer responsible for Marine Management Area and Habitat Monitoring, I have observed a number of major barriers to combating marine litter and micro plastics include the lack of access to recycling plants on a national, regional or international level and the need for a national level ban on plastic with an effective transition and implementation process that will ensure nationwide buy in and compliance. Also the lack of proper legislation, regulations, policies and enforcement of issues surrounding marine litter and micro plastics as well as high tariffs on imported sustainable alternatives to plastics. There is also a noted lack of awareness of what marine litter and micro plastics are and the effects of their presence within the seas and oceans.

SKN CONDUCTS MARINE ECOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT

The Department of Environment (DoE) and the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Environment Facility (GEF) Conserving Biodiversity Project will be conducting a marine ecological assessment.  This will take place within the St. Kitts and Nevis Marine Management Area (SKN MMA) at the conservation zones in Keys, Sandy Point and the Narrows from 13th to 24th June and 1st to 18th August 2018.

 

The overall task is to conduct a biodiversity and ecological assessment to expand on the existing baseline data that would be used to further support current and future coastal and marine resource management decision-making in and around St. Kitts and Nevis Marine Management Area (SKN MMA).  Knowledge sharing is key; therefore local expert knowledge will be integrated into this experience as Marine and Beach Conservation Officers (DMR), staff from St. Kitts Physical Planning and Department of Fisheries Nevis  will be working  along with the team of ecological inventory experts from ENVISION MAPPING.

 

The data collected will aid greatly in strengthening the management of the SKN MMA. There are other positive spinoffs for example with increased awareness leading to behavioral change then locals can assist in reducing habitat destruction in areas of influence for the conservation zones.

The DoE and DMR seeks the continued cooperation of persons living in these areas and the public in general. Remember when it involves #SKNMarineResources to #Use #Protect #Conserve to support #SKNbiodiversity!

For more information kindly contact; Claudia Drew, Project Coordinator, Department of Environment, 869-466-8535 .

 

Off-Shore Fisheries Collaboration for Small Vessels

The St. Kitts and Nevis Department of Marine Resources (DMR) collaborated with fishers to examine the practicality of promoting the off-shore and pelagic fisheries in the Federation. This involved preliminary work in 2017, harvesting Diamondback Squid. Following the successful capture of squid in 2017, the efforts have now shifted towards assessing the use of small open vessels for the harvesting of these resources, and other off-shore resources, to promote a reduction in fishing effort on the near-shore fisheries, while securing and enhancing fishers’ livelihoods.

Mitch Lay, Antiguan fisher and facilitator of the training exercise indicated “This is a great opportunity for fishers in St. Kitts and Nevis to experiment with new techniques so we can all ensure continued fisher livelihood. The equipment used for this training is suitable for small fishing vessels, we have to look out for all fishers.”

Kharim Saddler, Assistant Fisheries Officer at the Department of Marine Resources – “This demonstration included a rig for deep slope snapper fishing and continuing Diamondback Squid Fishing techniques. The Krystal reel proved to be very efficient and versatile. It is particularly suitable for small vessels.”

Director of DMR, Marc Williams – “Continued collaboration in harvesting, value addition and marketing may prove useful in promoting the Diamondback Squid fishery. St. Kitts and Nevis could spearhead a concerted effort to promote this underutilized species for food security and nutrition purposes.”

 

Below are images showing the process for preparing the equipment to be used. Pictured are Mitch Lay-Fisher and Captain  Petulah Huggins – DMR staff;

Protected Areas & Conservation Management Training

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) sponsored Conserving Biodiversity Project in St. Kitts and Nevis hosted in collaboration with the Department of Environment, St. Kitts the Protected Areas & Conservation Management Training from April 16-25, 2018.

Marine Conservation Officers; Locksley Edwards, Ahisha Herbert and Ashadi Duncan, Beach Conservation Officers; Luciano Eddy and Sasha (Kodi) Edwards, and Boat Captain and Conservation Officer; Conse Skeete participated in this training. These individuals are stationed at the Department of Marine Resources (DMR).

Facilitation of the training was done by Global Parks representatives; Kathy Chopik, Brion Fitzgerald and Doug Konkin. Local experts including; Thema Ward- Department of Physical Planning and Environment, Diannille Taylor-Williams- Ministry of Tourism and Dr. Kimberly Stewart- St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network presented at this training.

This training had three deliverables:

  • Interview staff to determine current skills and knowledge, goals for future training (capacity needs assessment)
  • Based on the interviews and previous work, prepare and deliver a dedicated training program
  • Create a capacity development plan for the overall effective management of the PA’s and conservation areas.

 

Protected Areas, Conservation, Management and staff capacity needs assessment activities included a wide range of priority training areas that were covered:

  • Protected areas planning processes and tools
  • Business and financial planning
  • Conservation and management of biodiversity and ecosystem
  • UN conservation commitments
  • Ecological monitoring and data collection
  • Use of decision-making support tools and database management tools
  • Synergies between ecotourism development and protected areas management
  • Building partnerships and network
  • EIA reports review

Some of the challenges that were recognized and assessed were

  • Lack of public communication of the work of the Park Rangers
  • The need for effective communication with the public
  • Lack of equipment necessary to complete the jobs/tasks effectively
  • Effective organizational communications
  • Lack of training opportunities
  • Lack of enforcement to support daily job completion

The training outcome was prioritization exercises of the training needs linking to the performance expectations in the job description and department mandates.

 

Tasia Jones is a MPA Manager

The 13th Training of Trainers on Marine Protected Area Management was held at The University of West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados from the 16th – 26th April 2018 representing St. Kitts and Nevis was Ms. Tasia Jones, a Marine Conservation Officer at the Department of Marine Resources. This training was organized by the Caribbean MPA Management Network and Forum (CaMPAM) with the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) as the local organizing partner for this year’s course.

Sessions were held that explored the biophysical characteristics and interaction of the Caribbean coastal habitats evaluating their ecological services, and identifying local, regional and global threats to their resilience.  Failing to understand the value of marine ecosystems can result in poor planning decision making. Therefore ecological and socio-economic research and monitoring and its application were discussed to improve marine area management.

The need to integrate, analyze and spatially understand a variety of types of information relating to the environment and its uses has increased reliance of the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) through marine spatial planning and participatory GIS. Ecosystem Based Management recognizes the full array of interactions within an ecosystem, including humans, rather than considering single issues, species, or ecosystems services in isolation.

Stakeholder engagement in MPA governance at site and national system levels were considered.

Stakeholders are people and groups whose interests, resources, power or authority result in them being likely to help, hinder, or be impacted by, an intervention or the lack of it. Co-management is a combination of negotiation and action taken by stakeholders with responsibility and authority who agree to share power.

The typical best practice based Daily Operations of an MPA Manager was outlined in order to give the standard by which functionality can occur. A comparative analysis was used to Weakness of Current Management Arrangement. A field day was also included in this course work primarily to compare and assess the marine environment within Barbados and that of the respective country participating.

Tasia Jones -St. Kitts and Nevis is a certified MPA Manager.

Biophysical and socioeconomic monitoring presentation by Steve Nimrod (St. Georges’ University, Grenada)

RUSVM supports DMR -Aquaculture and Research Opportunities

The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) received a welcomed donation of EC$10,752.80 from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) for its aquaculture project starting this year. Speaking at a Handing-Over Ceremony on March 27 2018, DMR’s Director, Marc Williams, said that the introduction of aquaculture in the Federation is an important initiative that will help to limit the importing of seafood by better meeting the demand of the local market.

“We can help to alleviate some of our food import bills and have a healthier population overall. This is where we are today, but we are hopeful that our collaboration will continue for the foreseeable future,” he said.

Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, thanked RUSVM for its continued support, specifically with this new initiative as it will assist with food security and providing employment in the Federation.

“I am pleased that we are making that step forward with the aquaculture project because I believe that there lies an opportunity for new entrepreneurs. This new initiative will help to make some families financially independent,” he added.

Minister Hamilton highlighted the long standing relationship that RUSVM has with the Department of Marine Resources with research projects including coral reef disease, cetacean stranding, lobster, conch , artificial reefs and support for a coral monitoring program within the St. Kitts and Nevis Marine Management Area (SKN MMA).

Queen Conch

 

Caribbean Spiny Lobster

See link for support provided for Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs)   http://dmrskn.com/ross-university-bolsters-fishing-technology-in-st-kitts-nevis/

He also indicated RUSVM has lent assistance to the Ministry of Health on many initiatives including its research on mosquito-borne diseases such as ZIKA and Chikungunya. “We are very grateful that we have a partnership in Ross. A partnership that has lasted more than 30 years and which I hope is only getting stronger,” said Minister Hamilton.

 

Dean of RUSVM and Professor of Anatomic Pathology, Dr.  Sean Callanan, said “we’re very conscious of the need to invest in empowering people” in particular the fisherfolk.

Professor Callanan said that while the aquaculture project was in the “early stages of a development process and feasibility process, which we’re funding right now, we really should consider it as the start of a strong partnership.”

The delegation from RUSVM included Campus Administrator, Ray Francis; Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations, Adtalem Global Education Inc, Lisa Sodeika; and Director of Civic Affairs and Security Projects, Adtalem Global Education Inc, Veron Lake

RUSVM presentation to DMR

SKN represented in Fisheries Learning Exchange

“The Department of Marine Resources in collaboration with the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) and the Department of Fisheries in Saint Lucia hosted a Pilot Fisheries Learning Exchange (FLE) in Saint Lucia on March 7th-9th, 2018. Two fisherfolk leaders, Iroy Marshall and Stephen Moore from Saint Kitts and Nevis visited Saint Lucia to learn from the experiences of several knowledge providers who are instrumental in fisheries and marine resource management.

The main aim of the Pilot FLE was to demonstrate practical guidance for designing and implementing FLEs for Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF), Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), and Disaster Risk Management (DRM).

This learning exchange forms part of the Climate Change Adaption for the Fisheries Sector in the Eastern Caribbean (CC4FISH) Project which aims to increase resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts in the Eastern Caribbean fisheries sector.”

 

 

⚠Orange Alert for Kick-em-Jenny

With the recent increase in volcanic activity there has been an upgrade from the yellow status to orange for Kick-em-Jenny volcano.

The Seismic Research Centre of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago states “Kick ’em Jenny is a submarine volcano located 8km north of Grenada (12.18°N, 61.38°W). The volcano is about 1300m high and 300m wide at its summit, which is currently thought to be about 200m below the surface of the sea. As far as we know, Kick ’em Jenny is the only ‘live’ (likely to erupt again) submarine volcano in the Eastern Caribbean. It is also the most frequently active volcano in the region, erupting at least 14 times since it was discovered in 1939. The most recent eruption of Kick ’em Jenny occurred in April 2017. For details of that and previous eruptions go to news archives. The volcano is currently at Alert Level ORANGE.   “ See link for more information http://uwiseismic.com .

Orange alert indicates a particular course of action. Vessels should therefore observe a 5 km exclusion zone from the site of the Kick-em-Jenny volcano. Interesting to note that most of the Lesser Antilles, including St. Kitts and Nevis, began as submarine volcanoes. The activity of this particular volcano gives a real time look at how these islands were formed. Therefore the effects of the volcano can be ground breaking to marine related fields of research.

 

The Ocean Explorer of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has indicated “undersea volcanic activity is a constant process that shapes the features of the ocean” and “Submarine volcanoes are also interesting because of the unique habitats they create. Seamounts are often areas of high biological diversity; their shape acts to deflect food-carrying currents upward, attracting a variety of sessile fauna and the crustaceans and fish that feed upon them. In the late 1970s, scientists were shocked to discover that some animals can even metabolize inorganic compounds emitted during volcanic activity, forming unique communities around hotspots of hydro-thermal venting (similar to geyser activity on land).” For more information http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/facts/volcanoes.html

One frequently asked question from the UWI Seismic Research Centre is;

Can an eruption from the Kick ’em Jenny submarine volcano cause a tsunami? 

Kick ‘em Jenny is a submarine (underwater) volcano located 9 km north of Grenada. Currently, scientists believe that there is a very small chance that an eruption of the volcano would trigger a tsunami. Measurements of the volcano were taken in 2003 and the results showed that the summit (highest point) of the volcano is quite deep below the surface of the sea, too deep for an eruption of the kind normally seen to trigger a tsunami.

 

BIOPAMA Phase II Programme – Caribbean Regional Inception Meeting

St. Kitts and Nevis was represented at the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and Joint Research Center of the European Commission,  BIOPAMA (Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management) and University of the West Indies hosted Caribbean Regional Inception Meeting from 6th -7th March 2018 in New Kingston, Jamaica. Tricia Greaux – Marine Management Area and Habitat Monitoring Officer with responsibility for the St. Kitts and Nevis Marine Management Area (SKN MMA) was the representative.

This meeting is essentially introducing the Phase II aspect of the BIOPAMA Programme seeking to reinforce marine and terrestrial protected a  reas within the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries. Mrs. Hyacinth Armstrong-Vaughn -Protected Areas Officer in the BIOPAMA Programme during welcome remarks and Phase II overview indicated the focus is on conserving and sustainably using the biodiversity within the Caribbean region and included goals such as promoting agility throughout international and regional networks and data collection mechanisms. This Programme will also seek to create greater alignment with Government Officials, Researchers, Managers and Conservationist through protection of biodiversity since t

he natural ecosystem should not threaten the economic development of our nations. Mr. Edmund Jackson, Programme Officer Environment and Climate Change Officer , Secretariat of the ACP expressed that implementation should reflect ownership, sharing of lessons learnt and encourage appropriate reporting.

During the 2 day meeting, highlights of different perspectives from national and regional conservation and management priorities and evaluating the approaches for improving governance and management at multiple scales were discussed. Other major meeting topics included the Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway, Regional Data Management Initiatives, and Data Sharing and Reporting.

The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme assists the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to address their priorities for improved management and governance of biodiversity and natural resources.