Posted on

Exchanging experience on mooring maintenance in the Grenadines

Exchanging experience  on mooring maintenance in the Grenadines

Share

Clifton, Union Island (October 14th, 2013) – During the October low season, representatives of Tobago Cays Marine Park, Carriacou’s Sandy Island/Oyster Bed Marine Protected Area and St Vincent’s South Coast Marine Conservation Area visited the Mustique Marine Conservation Area to work together for a week.{{more}}

The exchange visit was an initiative of the Grenadines Network of Marine Protected Areas and is the second formal site visit for park staff to meet and work with their counterparts on other islands.

Director of the Sustainable Grenadines Inc (SusGren) non-profit organization Martin Barriteau explained: “The Grenadines Network of Marine Protected Areas was established in 2011 and we are pleased to have recently held the third annual networking meeting. At these meetings, the six participating marine protected areas, as well as key government agencies, come together in a formal setting to discuss progress and challenges in marine conservation and to consider priorities for the year ahead.

“Complementing the annual meeting, exchange visits give field staff the chance to see first-hand the other marine protected areas and to get to know their colleagues who manage them. It also provides an opportunity to address the practical challenges that staff are facing on the ground.”

The 2013 exchange visit focused on learning about standard operating procedures for the maintenance of fixed moorings. Mustique Marine Conservation Area has years of experience in working with different types of fixed mooring systems and has high standards and good practices in mooring maintenance to share with the other members of the network. Their offer to host an exchange site visit came about in response to challenges shared on this topic by other marine protected areas at the 2012 networking meeting.

During the exchange, the visitors worked side-by-side with Mustique’s harbour master, both above and below water, to inspect and repair existing moorings and to install new mooring equipment in Britannia Bay.

“By encouraging regular inspections and by building capacity for timely, high quality maintenance of fixed moorings, we hope to see the marine protected areas of the Grenadines build a good reputation for the reliability of moorings and so increase levels of usage by visiting yachts in preference to anchoring, which can threaten coral reefs and associated habitats,” explained Barriteau.

While on-island, the visitors also joined land and sea patrols of the island. They took part in an inspection of Mustique’s fuel delivery ship, assisting with the fuel lines, patrolling the area and keeping it clear of boats. Importantly, they learned about monitoring for fuel spills and became more familiar with the floating fuel containment booms that are used in the event of a spill.

In the spirit of sharing knowledge, the visitors in return assisted Mustique with several lionfish capture dives and held a well-attended demonstration of lionfish handling and cleaning techniques for local fishers and chefs. This was followed by a fish fry for all.

The hosts and visitors commented that the exchange was useful, informative and successful. “Exchanges like this, together with meetings and other activities, are so useful in bringing together the diverse people within the marine conservation community of the Grenadines,” said Mr Simon Humphrey of Mustique Marine Conservation Area.

The exchange visit was made possible with support from the Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative. For more information please contact SusGren (susgrenpm@vincysurf.com telephone 784.485.8779).

LAST NEWS