A GREAT MOVE……
Written by George Grant on March 23, 2015
SANDY ISLAND/OYSTER BED MPA (SIOBMPA) RE-ESTABLISHES YACHT MOORING FIELD AT SANDY ISLAND AND ESTABLISHES ANOTHER AT L’ESTERRE BAY
HILLSBOROUGH — The Sandy Island/Oyster Bed Marine Protected Area (SIOBMPA) in Carriacou is in the process of restoring its yacht-mooring field, with funding assistance from the CARIBSAVE implemented C-Fish project.
C-FISH is a 4-year project funded by UKAID, through the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, and implemented by CARIBSAVE. Seventeen mooring systems are being installed around Sandy Island, and a new mooring field will be established with five moorings within the L’Esterre Bay, with the intention of encouraging visiting yachts to moor closer to the community, to support local economic and cultural activities.
This endeavour has the support of the Marine and Yachting Association of Grenada (MAYAG) which, through Russ Fielding and Anita Sutton provided tremendous support and advice to SIOBMPA.
Moorings are essential for the protection of the marine environment from anchor damage, provide a safe and secure spot for yachts to moor while visiting the island, as well as form the foundation for sustainable financing of MPAs in the Eastern Caribbean. When SIOBMPA was launched 5 years ago, the mooring field established at Sandy Island had a carrying capacity of 19 yachts. The challenge of finding finance and the inability to repair and maintain the moorings resulted in those moorings being lost.
However, four MPA wardens, including two (2) IMANI trainees, were recently engaged in hands-on training in the assembling and installation of mooring systems. This is an important component to the sustainability of SIOBMPA. Underwater Solutions Limited of Grenada is undertaking training and installation. Owner/manager, Brett Fairhead, noted that although the training is basic, it would have the immediate impact of wardens being able to maintain the mooring systems vital to the financial sustainability of the MPA.
Officer-in-Charge of the MPA, Mr. Davon Baker believes that the training exercise would play a key role in ensuring that the mooring field lasts. “This MPA,” he said, “is a remarkably beautiful and diverse environment, which is important to various sectors, including our fishermen. It is absolutely necessary that we do everything to ensure it is well kept.”
On island for the implementation is CARIBSAVE’s Eastern Caribbean Technical Coordinator for Ecosystems-based Adaptation, Mr. Newton Eristhee who remarked that CARIBSAVE is proud to be a partner in this initiative, and to see the great strides that The Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique — as well as the SIOBMPA Board have made. SIOBMPA, having established a dedicated account so that user fees can be deposited and used to facilitate maintenance and other activities, has created a foundation for sustainable financing of the MPA, of which all Grenadians can be proud.
Members of the SIOBMPA Management Board showed a keen interest in the activity. Chairman, Sebastian Stiell; Vice-chair and Parliamentary Secretary of Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Senator Norland Cox; as well as Board Secretary, Christine McFarlane were present during the training session. Senator Cox commended SIOBMPA management and CARIBSAVE for every step taken to ensure that Carriacou’s MPA meets its aims and objectives, standing high amongst other MPA’s within the region. He also advised wardens to take the training very seriously since it is intended to help develop their knowledge and increase productivity on the job.
The senator further reiterated his Ministry’s unwavering commitment to the growth and success of all MPA initiatives.
The mooring fields are to be completed by Friday March 20th, 2015.