Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 18, 2016 (SKNIS):   The Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) is again partnering with the Government of National Unity in support of marine-based environmental projects in the Federation.

A declaration of the St. Christopher and Nevis Marine Management Area has been approved by the Minister responsible for Marine Resource management, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton.

During a brief signing ceremony on August 18, 2016, Mr Marc Williams, Director of the Department of Marine Resources, provided some background on this initiative and explained that the Marine Management Area is defined by a two mile radius of sea water around the St. Kitts and Nevis coastline, including the Monkey Shoals area. This area, according to the director, “will be managed by the Department of Marine Resources as the entity with jurisdiction of the Federal Waters of St. Kitts and Nevis as by the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Resources Act (FAMRA) 2016.”

The area has been divided into zones based on priority areas. These zones include, “fishing priority areas, mixed use areas and recreational zones.”

Mr Williams further indicated that the Government of National Unity intends “to collaborate with various stakeholders to ensure proper management and governance of each zone,” adding that, “The Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine will be instrumental in the management process.”

Speaking at Thursday’s signing ceremony, Mr. Guy St. Jean, Interim Dean and Professor of Large Animal Surgery, expressed pleasure on behalf of the RUSVM for the opportunity to again join with the Government. He assured that the RUSVM remains committed to the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Mr. St. Jean explained the one Health approach aimed at sustainable food production in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

“We are happy to support initiatives that impact economic growth, health, food security, sustainable livelihoods, and the development and use of technology in the country. Where food security is concerned, everyone is a stakeholder,” Mr. St. Jean said.

Minister Hamilton expressed gratitude to the RUSVM for its significant support in the past and on this initiative. He indicated that the RUSVM has had a long history of collaboration with the Government and revealed that as recent as August 3, 2016, the RUSVM handed over Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) equipment to the DMR and St. Kitts-Nevis FAD Fishers Association. 

The equipment received included robust GPS Tracking Devices and Solar Powered Strobe Lights to enhance the way the fishermen/women are able to locate and access FADs.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Alistair Edwards and Director, Civic Affairs and Security Projects at RUSVM witnessed the signing.

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