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Mapping the future of Grenadines Marine space

Mapping the future of Grenadines Marine space

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Is it necessary to develop a plan on how marine spaces should be used? Can it benefit its people and the island on a whole? And can it be practical?{{more}}

All these questions and more have been answered as a Marine Zoning Plan is being developed for the Grenadine Islands. This plan is to identify areas in the marine environment that can only be used for specific purposes, such as, fishing, conservation, tourism etc. The plan will allow Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to increase their capacity to protect, manage and be able to sustainably use the marine resources of the Grenadines. It will also map out areas that are best for fishing, conservation, tourism, shipping lanes, mariculture and such activities.

The zone will span from Bequia in the North to Isle de Rhonde in the South. As a result a one day workshop involving various marine resource users (fisherfolk, water taxi operators, members of the yachting community, dive shop operators, etc.) was held on the island of Mayreau, St. Vincent and the Grenadines on November 17.

Participants shared their concerns while making their contributions. This process sparked a lot of discussion and raised a number of questions; is it possible to allow the space to be used equitably between all users? Do some zones or activities take precedent over others, and how do we decide which take priority? How might this decision impact other users, and how do we evaluate these trade-offs? Furthermore, the element of time was also an issue, were these plans suitable not only for today but for the future? Will they accommodate or hinder further development?

“Zoning of the areas are important to further sustain the Grenadines and continue to provide livelihood opportunities for the people,” said Consultant for the Project Kimberly Baldwin of the University of the West Indies.

The project is also aimed at bringing awareness on the importance and economic values of the Grenadines to all sectors of society including politicians. “The Grenadines is the most significant coral reef in the south eastern Caribbean and in order for us to protect it for tourism, and in order to safeguard against climate change and maintain our main source of employment which is tourism and fishing we need to have a plan that will guide sustainable development,” that’s according to Director for Sustainable Grenadines Inc. Martin Barriteau.

Realizing the importance of this valuable resource should never be overlooked. By managing and protecting this environment everyone can stand to benefit from the wealth that await. Whether it is social or economical.

The process to develop a marine zoning plan started since January and so far 3 workshops and 7 community meetings took place throughout the Grenadines from Mustique to Carriacou. This project is being implemented by Sustainable Grenadines Inc. (SusGren), a Grenadine NGO, with funding from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP).

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