Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 14, 2016 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has pledged to do more to protect marine life and its coastal territory as it seeks to introduce better practices of sustainable development.
The twin-island federation marked World Oceans Day on June 08, along with countries around the world, and used the occasion to launch the St. Kitts and Nevis Coral Reef Report Card. A press release forwarded from the Ministry of Agriculture, which has responsibility for marine resources, indicated that the report card “tracks the health of coral reefs; highlight the ability of fully protected areas to support more fish; and raise awareness on the need to protect coral reefs.”
“It is incumbent on our government to ensure the requisite systems of management and protection are fully established to provide and maintain the livelihood of our citizens and the sustainability of the resources present in this area,” said Assistant Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Natasha Daniel, adding that the report card is vital in the process as it highlights areas for focus.
Management recommendations from the St. Kitts and Nevis report card include: “adopting and designating the proposed Marine Managed Area (MMA) to help reefs recover; protecting parrotfish and other herbivores to reduce seaweed; and to create more fully protected replenishment areas to let fish grow larger and produce more fish for the future.” Additionally, it suggested “protecting reefs with healthy elkhorn and staghorn corals to help these endangered species to recover; and to improve nearshore water quality to help reefs prosper.”
Report cards were also produced for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda. The report cards were funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. The initiative is part of the Climate-Resilient Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network (ECMMAN) project, which aims to build a subregional network of MMAs.
All of the data and the report cards are accessible online at www.caribnode.org. The theme for World Oceans Day 2016 was “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.”