Local marinas gearing up for future improvement
February 13, 2015
Local marinas gearing up for future improvement

Two marine areas in St Vincent and the Grenadines were under scrutiny this week, as stakeholders addressed ways to tackle some issues that impact such areas.

On Monday, a week-long workshop, which is funded by the Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Area Network Project (ECMANN), officially began with an aim to review important aspects of water quality in local marinas.{{more}}

While delivering opening remarks, superintendent of marine and terrestrial parks at the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority Andrew Lockhart indicated that the programme began in January 2014 and is geared towards ensuring that the parks and protected areas are managed within regional and international standards.

Lockhart also noted that the workshop will focus on the Tobago Cays and the south coast marine area, as these are two of the most noted in the St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“As we are focusing here on coastal and marine space, we note that our coastal and marine areas are of utmost importance to the socio economic and the sustainable well being of our country and region,” he said.

“St Vincent and the Grenadines, we are part of the global community… and therein, we have committed to several of the international multilateral environment agreements.”

According to the marine park superintendent, what happens on the terrestrial planes often affects the marine environment, which may become “threatened by pollution and unsustainable harvests.”

The workshop was facilated by Dr Cheryl Woodley and Dr Lisa May from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the USA.

In brief remarks at the opening, Woodley noted that because of the connectivity with the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans, neighbouring countries tend to be affected by similar issues.

Therefore, during the workshop, it was expected that the NOAA representatives would have spent their time sharing experiences of what they have learned in other regions, as well as their scientific information on addressing various marine issues.

“It’s the local threats that have been the most significant factors in impacting reefs. I believe that by reducing those local stressors, which we are here to try to identify and then take action against those threats, are actually more manageable than climate change, which we hear a lot about,” the NOAA representative said.

“I think by relieving some of those local stresses, those coral will actually have the ability to adapt and to have more resilience against these climatic changes that they are also facing as significant threats.”

According to Woodley, once these stresses are addressed, damaged coral will have the ability to be restored and, by extension, will be able to carry out their ecological services to the country.

The workshop is a collaboration between the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority, the Fisheries Division, the Central Water and Sewerage Authority, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, the Forestry Department, the Bureau of Standards and the Tobago Cays Marine Park.(BK)