Volume 58

Involving Communities in the Implementation of Reef Check: Strategies for Co-management of Marine Resources in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Baldwin, K., S. Punnett, C. Smith
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Date: November, 2005

Pages: 357-364

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Eighth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: San Andres

Country: Colombia


A healthy marine environment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is essential not only for the conservation of marine biodiversity but to ensure the sustainable livelihoods of local communities through the long-term success of fishing and tourism. Marine monitoring is an essential procedure to ensure that sound management decisions are made involving the marine resources on the Grenadines Bank. In this context, collaboration between the St. Vincent Fisheries Division, The Sustainable Grenadines Project and a variety of local marine resource user groups was made to implement the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Reef Check monitoring program. Volunteers were trained in Reef Check methodology and a total of seven sites were surveyed in early 2005. Initial results from preliminary Reef Check surveys provide an indication of the effects that increased fishing pressure, rapid development and other human activities are having upon the marine environment. It is recommended that the St. Vincent Fisheries Division utilise the Reef Check program as part of a monitoring ‘design framework’; consisting of at least two program levels: a community-based relatively broad-bush program such as Reef Check conducted often by volunteers at many sites, and a high-resolution scientific program (such as AGRRA) carried out at less frequently at fewer sites. This combination of monitoring can provide governments with a cost-efficient early-warning indicator system for detecting major anthropogenic changes in the marine environment as well as facilitate community support for marine management. Considering the importance of marine resources to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; a greater understanding of the abundance and distribution of key resources, their user groups as well as areas of user conflict is needed. This information can be used to support the broader goal of a marine space-use plan for the Grenadines including a network of marine protected areas for the Grenadines Bank.

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