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Sea Tales @ the Museum

 

The St. Kitts and Nevis’ marine environment was the focus of the St. Christopher National Trust Dasani-Harper’s Heritage House Children’s Storytelling Series “SEA TALES”.

The St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network’s Dr. Kimberley Stewart shared a Caribbean based story about the danger plastic creates for the turtles especially the Leatherback Turtle that nest within the Keys Beach area within the St. Kitts’ St. Mary Man and the Biophere.

The Sea Life Sea SKN project through the Anjolique Dance Company (ADC) partnered with the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) to present SKN ‘Sea Kingdom’. The vivid costumes depicting the marine creatures within the St. Kitts and Nevis Marine Management Area and surrounding areas, were from ADC.

The Department of Marine Resources Marine Management Areas and Habitat Monitoring Officer Tricia Greaux accompanied by the Beach and Marine Conservation Officers; Tasia Jones, Ahisha Herbert, Ashadi Duncan, Sasha Kodi Edwards, Luciano Eddy and Locksley Edwards.

The SEA-MAZINGLY animated session featured the; Queen Triggerfish (locally known as Ole Wife), Octopus, Princess Parrotfish (Locally known as Thumb), Rainbow Runner (ocean pelagic/ deep sea fish species), and Lionfish (an alien/ invasive fish, not native to the Caribbean Sea).

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Whales Beached in Nevis

On Saturday 10th February, 2018, Nine Short-Finned Pilot Whales beached themselves on Dog Bay and at Garlin Bay at Indian Castle, Nevis.

There were mammoth efforts to save three of the nine whales and transport them to be released back into the ocean. Unfortunately one died while being transported. Therefore, two of the nine Pilot Whales were saved and released into the ocean.

Permanent Secretary Huey Sargeant-Ministry of Fisheries et al. in Nevis, Thema Ward – Physical Planning and Environment, Nevis and Lemuel Pemberton- Nevis Turtle Group were leading the efforts. They were then assisted by a delegation from St. Kitts namely Kharim Saddler-Fisheries Assistant (DMR), Sara Ramirez -St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network, Paul Fyre and Kelsey Johnson – ROSS University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Necropsies were performed and samples taken in order to help determine a possible cause of beaching. Of the nine whales; 2 were females, 3 were males and the other sexes unknown. The average length of the whales were 3.6 meters or 11.8 feet.

The Department of Marine would like to extend gratitude to the Indian Castle/Gingerland and surrounding area community members, fishers, students, volunteers, researchers and Government entities such as the St. Kitts Nevis Coast Guard, Department of Agriculture St. Kitts, Physical Planning and Environment Nevis.

 

 

Rum benefits Sea Turtles !

The St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network (SKSTMN) is teaming up with Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum (Brinley) to make the launch of their new White Reserve Caribbean Rum one that benefits sea turtles in St. Kitts. Brinley has agreed to donate a portion of proceeds from first year sales of the new White Reserve Caribbean Rum to the SKSTMN. In addition, Brinley has created turtle-shaped hang tags (see pictures) to place on several Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum varieties. This will allow customers near and far to learn about the sea turtles of St. Kitts, the SKSTMN, and support sea turtle conservation efforts in the Federation while enjoying Kittitian-born rum. “We are thrilled to be working with this great team and their truly worthy cause. The St Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network is protecting sea turtles & their beautiful habitat… and we are VERY proud to be a part!” said Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum Owner, Zach Brinley.

The SKSTMN is a registered NGO in St. Kitts as well as a Public Charity in the United States with tax exempt 501c3 status. A community-based organization formed in 2003, the SKSTMN aims to implement a long-standing sea turtle conservation management program, promote community awareness of the plight of sea turtles, and advocate for stronger sea turtle protection laws in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. SKSTMN Director, Dr. Kimberly Stewart, added, “This partnership with Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum offers opportunities for conservation education and public awareness regarding sea turtles and the marine environment in St. Kitts that transcend geographic boundaries and we could not be more excited!”

To learn more about the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network and/or make a donation, visit www.stkittsturtles.org, email skturtles@gmail.com, or call the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Hotline at 1 (869) 764-6664. To learn more about Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum visit http://www.brinleygoldshipwreck.com/. To find Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum vendors in your area visit http://www.brinleygoldshipwreck.com/find-our-rum or http://opiciwines.com/product-locator/. 

TURTLE CAMP A SUCCESS!

The St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network (SKSTMN) held its 10th annual Sea Turtle Camp from 17-29 July, 2017. Marine and Beach Conservation Officers from the Department of Marine Resources and St. Kitts Department of Environment served as Camp Counselors. The six officers were Locksley Edwards, Tasia Jones, Jevanito Huggins, Kaywanna Hughes, Ashadi Duncan and Lucianno Eddy.

Ashadi Duncan, Marine Conservation Officer recalled “We were all excited about becoming Camp Counselors and sharing our knowledge with the campers. It was easier than we thought; the campers were very engaged and enthusiastic about all of the presentations and field trips. The camp promoted positive messaging about sea turtles through art and craft interpretations which were displayed at the turtle release.”

The campers learnt about the importance of preserving sea turtles, their ecosystems and how they can get involved in sea turtle conservation in St. Kitts. Turtle edutainment (education and entertainment) through arts and crafts, games, and field trips to various beaches where they participated in beach scavenger hunts, beach clean ups, learned how to do beach profiling, and monitor sea turtle nests.  Another highly anticipated field trip was to the St. Kitts and Nevis Aquaculture Pilot Project and Environmental Research (SNAPPER) where campers met sea turtles that were there for rehabilitation by the SKSTMN. Plastics harm turtles! Campers learnt about the importance of recycling and reducing waste and participating in the St. Kitts Plastic Free July Campaign.

The Sea Turtle Camp concluded with a Hawksbill Turtle release on Saturday July 29th 2017, at Whitehouse Bay.  Over 250 persons lined the beach area to witness “KITTAR- The Kittitian Turtle” entering the Caribbean Sea.

 

Beach and Marine Conservation Officers Hired

The St.Kitts and Nevis Conserving Biodiversity Project Coordinating Unit is hosting an orientation session for the newly recruited Beach and Marine Conservation Officers. The purpose of these Conservation officers is to assist in the maintenance of the marine and coastal environment by encouraging users of these areas to comply with the National Conservation and Environment Protection Act 1989 and Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Resources Act 2016. The protection of the Federations’s fragile eco-system is of paramount importance to these officers who are namely; Leonjo Daniel, Lockskey Edwards, Ashadi Duncan, Tasia Jones, Kaywana Hughes and Jevanito Huggins.

Claudia Drew, Project Coordinator commented “ the Project Coordination Unit has attained one of the critical project milestones towards operationalization of the Marine Management Areas through the employment of Beach and Marine Conservation.”

The orientation training includes; map reading, search and rescue, marine tour to all conservation zones within the St. Kitts and Nevis Marine Management Area, water quality monitoring, and heritage and culture.  The Beach and Marine Conservation Officers will also be doing awareness and outreach at the Summer Turtle Camp organized by the St.Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network.

 

Participants in training with a session facilitator Phynora Ible