PARTICIPANTS: Profiles and Comments
Carolina Bastidas, Departamento Biología de Organismos, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela. email@example.com
I have been recently appointed at this university, where I will further develop my research interests on reef ecology. So far, I have been involved in research in coral reefs, mainly monitoring (CARICOMP), trace metal concentration in corals and sediments, and population genetics of corals. I am concerned with proper conservation of reefs, and my attendance to this meeting gave me the perspective of what other countries are doing as management initiatives. Venezuela has well-developed coral reefs in islands and, to a lesser extent, in coastal areas. At the meeting, I presented in a poster the first report of spawning times for various hard and soft coral species of Venezuela, comparing one coastal and one island reef environment. I am starting a project on connectivity between coral populations among Venezuelan major reef areas. In the near future, I am interested in expanding this study to include other major reef areas of the Caribbean. I attended the Conference with the sponsorship of the organization committee and of the Instituto de Tecnología y Ciencias Marinas of the U.S.B, to which I am very grateful.
Sophie Brugneaux, director Marine Environment Observatory of Martinique, firstname.lastname@example.org
island of Martinique has 400,000 inhabitants, 400 km/248 miles of coastline
and is surrounded by a fringing reef. The pressure on the reefs is mostly
human. The island has a failing cleansing web and not everyone is connected
to it. Besides, the island has intensive agriculture with lots of pesticides
and fertilizers. Fish traps focus on herbivorous fish, causing an algal
problem. Neither the government (= France) nor the people are aware that
the reef is declining, stated Brugneaux. 'Nobody cares', she said during
the conference. Only in the last two or three years some awareness for
marine environment has been growing.
Gerard van Buurt, head of the Fisheries Sector, Department of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Curaçao, email@example.com
decline of the reefs has both human and natural causes. During the conference
Gerard van Buurt only talked about the human causes, since 'there is very
little we can do about the natural causes'. He doesn't really know what
the most important cause of coral decline around Curaçao is, but
if there is one cause, he would say it's the nutrients. Fishery cannot
be blamed, he stated. Van Buurt has done some research and there isn't
that much fishing in Curaçao's coastal waters, since most Curaçao
fishing is pelagic. Very often fisheries are blamed for the coral decline,
but Van Buurt thinks that it could also be the other way round: when coral
cover declines one can expect less fish.
Laurent Courgeon, Environmental Department of Martinique, Martinique. firstname.lastname@example.org
is an engineer in marine environment. His job is twofold:
Francianne Gréaux, manager of the marine reserve St. Barthelémy, email@example.com
economy of this 10 sq. mile small island is mainly tourism based. It has
fringing reefs and lots of patches of seagrass. The marine reserve was
established in 1996. In St. Barths' waters 51 species of corals, 183 species
of fish, lots of conchs, hawksbill turtles and green turtles can be found.
Also, humpback whales can be seen during migration. 'Twenty to thirty
years ago the local people lived on sea birds and sea turtles, now they
are protected', Gréaux said during the conference. The Statian
assistant manager, Gershon Lopes, replied that – unfortunately -
the St. Barths' fishermen now come to Statia to catch the turtles.
Joe Christophe, ranger of the Parc Natural de St. Martin, St. Martin firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe used to be a forest ranger. The fact that he is local is both helpful and difficult, he stated. He knows the people, which is an advantage. But on the other hand some fellow-islanders blame him for working with the marine park: 'Ýou're one of us', they'll tell him.
Aldo Croquer, marine ecologist, Venezuela, email@example.com
is finishing his Ph.D. on the biology of organisms and is currently working
with the CARICOMP Network. During the conference he presented his work
in the Marine Park of the Archipelago de Los Roques, one of the most important
marine protected areas in the southern Caribbean. Compared to other Caribbean
locations the waters around Los Roques have the highest coral cover: locally
it is 44% compared to 36% for Curaçao, 30% for Bonaire and 1.6%
for the Bahamas. Furthermore the park has sea-grass beds, sandy beaches
and mangrove forests. Potential threats to Los Roques are illegal fishing
(esp. queen conch, turtles and lobster), tourism development and population
increases. Since prevention is better and cheaper than solving the problems
afterwards, Los Roques desperately needs more people to make the local
population understand why zoning the park is important. Furthermore the
park needs facilities like boats and accommodations for the park rangers.
Croquer stated that there is a need to establish a relationship between
the increase of the population and the nutrient level. If there is a relation,
people have to be made aware that population growth might lead to a decline
of the coral reef.
Henry de Cuba, Stimaruba, Aruba firstname.lastname@example.org
Cuba visited the conference not only on behalf of his own nature organization,
but with the support of other Aruban nature and grassroots organizations
as well. He showed the conference participants how Aruba's beaches have
been divided among the private sector: each beach has been adopted by
a company that takes care of the cleaning of 'its' beach. Also, the companies
organize other activities in 'their' area.
Dolfi Debrot, Scientific Director, Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity Foundation (Carmabi), Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, email@example.com
to Dolfi Debrot, Curaçao has seen a lot of flash brochures, plans
and draft ordinances since 1976, when the last reef management ordinance
was written. 'There has been a lot of activity, but where are we? Nowhere',
stated Debrot at the end of the first day of the conference. He feels
that the institutional capacity is the bottleneck for the Dutch small
island developing states (SIDS). In the nineties of the last century,
the island of Curaçao has seen a growth of small organizations
at the expense of institutional capacity. Debrot: 'Active environmentalism
doesn't actually speed up structural advance. So many small organizations
are inefficient and they provide a confusion of issues and a dilution
of resources. Bustling environmental activism may slow progress or break
down institutional capacity.' Debrot would favor growth of the institutional
capacity whereby the environmental organizations have close links with
this institutional capacity. He encouraged the grassroots organizations
to put their heads together, because too many small organizations will
lead to fragmentation.
Karen Eckert, Executive Director of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST, Inc.), firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Karen L. Eckert, a Ph.D in sea turtle biology and multilateral conservation is currently Executive Director of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST, Inc.). Her work for WIDECAST was recognized by the United Nations in its 'Global 500 Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement' in 1994 and UNEP characterized her as “one of the most important figures in conservation and grassroots community empowerment in the field of endangered species in the Wider Caribbean Region.” In 1996 she was selected for a prestigious 3-yr Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation, which specifically recognized WIDECAST’s efforts to restore depleted sea turtle populations and promote sustainable coexistence between Caribbean peoples and their marine resources.
The WIDECAST program is a model for multilateral marine resource management in the Caribbean region and throughout the world. WIDECAST’s major task is to prevent the extinction of six species of endangered sea turtles in the Caribbean basin by emphasizing science-based tools in national policy-making and community conservation initiatives. The network includes volunteer Country Coordinators in more than 30 Caribbean states and territories. Experts work closely with these coordinators, as well as with local WIDECAST Partner Organizations, to develop comprehensive national-level “Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plans”. WIDECAST assists government agencies and non-government groups in the implementation of priority Action Plan recommendations, as well as in the design and implementation of regionally harmonized research and management projects.
In addition to her
work with WIDECAST, Dr. Eckert's personal research has taken her throughout
the Western Atlantic, and into the Mediterranean Sea, Eastern Tropical
Pacific, and Southeast Asia. She is a valued consultant to many governments
and inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. She has published
numerous scientific and general interest articles, technical manuals,
and policy documents. She is a member of the U.S. Pacific, as well as
the Atlantic/Caribbean, Sea Turtle Recovery Teams, and the Marine Turtle
Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. She served as
Senior Editor of the Marine Turtle Newsletter, a scholarly periodical
with subscribers in more than 100 nations, for ten years (1988-1997).
Paul Ellinger, assistant manager St. Maarten Marine Park, email@example.com
island of St. Maarten has a French and an Antillean side. Therefore, there
are two marine parks, managed by an Antillean and a French manager (see:
Nicolas Maslach). With the help of the WWF, the Antillean and the St.
Maarten government, the St. Maarten Nature Foundation was founded in 1997.
The marine park has been in operation since that time; the founding of
a terrestrial park is delayed because of problems with acquiring the land.
257 sq. mile large island of Saint Lucia implemented marine reserves in
1986. In these reserves extractive use (e.g. collecting corals, fishing
etc.) is forbidden. Unfortunately it appeared to be too soon and too sudden.
As Ferrari stated: 'It was imposed on the fishermen. Also, it couldn't
be enforced because there was no structure.' Nearly a decade later, in
1994, the government started a consultative process with all stakeholders:
the tourism industry, the dive industry, the fishermen, the private sector,
the department of fisheries and any member of the public that was interested.
The fishermen were still opposing the idea of a fish reserve, because
they would lose part of their fish grounds, but after many consultations
the Soufrière Marine Management Area was founded and fish reserves
were officially designated in 1995. To mitigate the effect of the fish
reserve some older fishermen were offered financial compensation while
fish attracting devices were installed for the younger fishermen. Gradually
the fishermen became more supportive. Partly because some of them saw
the amount of fish when they were fishing illegally in the reserves. They
noticed that the fish there were indeed bigger and could be seen in larger
amounts. After a while they even requested an official ban on gillnets,
because these nets would harm the corals.
Gert Jan Gast, Greenpeace, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. firstname.lastname@example.org
Gert Jan Gast worked
on Curaçao during his Masters and PhD research on the effects of
pollution on water quality and the coral reef ecosystem. At the conference
he presented Greenpeace's fight against overfishing as the biggest problem
in the world’s oceans. Overfishing leads to depletion of fish stocks
and changes in the oceans' ecosystems.
Dave Gulko, Aquatic Biologist IV - Coral Reefs, Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawai'i Department of Land & Natural Resources, email@example.com
Dave Gulko spoke
about marine alien species threatening endemic species. Since 1950 19
species of non-indigenous algae have been introduced on Hawaii. Alien
species can be brought into the area where they don't belong naturally.
This can happen via commercial or recreational vessels, in ballast water,
via marine debris or the aquarium industry. The problem is that alien
species may directly kill some coral species, they may significantly alter
the ecosystem structure and its function and/or they may reduce biodiversity.
How? When corals get overgrown with algae, the alien species affect the
diet of the herbivores, the resting and mating habitat of marine species
and the cleaning stations. This is especially true for Hawaii since it
has an extremely high number of endemic species.
Carl Hanson and Linval Getten, project manager and head ranger of the Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society, Jamaica. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamaica has three
underwater parks: Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and the Negril Marine Park. The
last one was founded in 1990. It has no user fee system yet, but the government
is working on that for all Jamaican marine parks. The Negril Park now
gets its money from grants, memberships and fundraising.
David Kooistra, park manager of the Saba Marine Park, Netherlands Antilles, email@example.com
has been the park manager on Saba since1997; the park was founded in 1987.
Saba is a small island of 5 sq. miles and some 1500 inhabitants. The island
is very much dependent on tourism. Saba doesn't have any beaches, which
is quite good for the coral reefs that are still in a pretty good state.
Since Saba's lowest village is situated at a height of some 200 meters,
no wastewater reaches the sea. The waste management is a problem though.
Waste is dumped in a gut and since the island has quite some erosion the
wastewater will percolate into the sea after a good shower. Saba is especially
promoted as an un-crowded dive island, where the dive experience is important.
The 27 dive sites receive around 21.000 dives per year.
Gershon Lopes, assistant manager St. Eustatius Marine Park, Netherlands Antilles, firstname.lastname@example.org
8.2 sq. mile small island of Statia has two terrestrial parks, a marine
park plus a botanical garden. Stenapa (St. Eustatius National Parks) manages
all parks. Divers pay a yearly fee of $15.00, but since the island doesn't
receive many tourists, the fees aren't enough to cover Stenapa's expenses.
Legally it is possible to make the big oil tankers of Statia's oil terminal
pay for anchoring, but the government hasn't approved yet. Erosion is
the biggest problem on the island.
Nicolas Maslach, manager of the Parc Natural de St. Martin, St. Martin email@example.com
The French side of St. Martin has a terrestrial
and a marine reserve. The marine reserve was established by the French
government in 1998 and covers 7163 acres. with fingerlike reefs, patches
of reef and lots of sea-grass beds and sand. In the beginning the local
people, especially the fishermen, strongly opposed the reserve, since
fishing was forbidden in some parts. Also, the locals didn't understand
why they weren't allowed to build in the park.
Franck Mazéas, IFRECOR, French Ministry of Environment, Martinique. firstname.lastname@example.org
IFRECOR is the French
equivalent of the NACRI: the French Initiative for Coral Reefs. The eight
French Caribbean Islands have four reserves: one on St. Martin, one on
St. Barths, one in Petite Terre (Guadeloupe) and one called Grand Cul
de Sac Marin. It's part of Mazéas' job to help the reserves with
technical and financial support. They can always call him when they have
questions of problems. Mazéas himself is specialized in tropical
marine ecosystems, in particular the coral reef.
Sheila McKenna, Conservation International, Washington USA, email@example.com
is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization. McKenna
herself is a scientist with a Ph.D. in coral reef ecology. She stated
that a lot of scientific studies have been published to conserve the reefs.
'But we are not going to win with scientists alone. We need politicians,
economists and all the people who love the reef as well. The goal is not
only to save species, but also to deal with social, economic and political
issues: a holistic approach.
Jill Meyer, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coral Reef Program, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, as steward of US Marine resources and
co-chair of the US coral reef task force, has the responsibility, experience
and unique suite of science and management capabilities needed to address
threats facing US coral reefs. The NOAA Coral Reef Program works with
scientists, private sector, government and non-governmental partners at
local and international levels to conserve coral reef ecosystems. From
mapping and monitoring to managing reef resources and removing harmful
debris, the NOAA Coral Reef Program is helping to address priority to
coral reef needs.
Dirk Petersen, Rotterdam Zoo, The Netherlands, and University of Essen, Institute of Ecology, Department of Hydrobiology, Germany. email@example.com
In 2001, Rotterdam
Zoo (the Netherlands) together with Curaçao Sea Aquarium (the Netherlands
Antilles) and the University of Essen (Germany) started an international
research project called SECORE: captive Sexual Coral Reproduction for
nature conservation, to study the ex situ sexual reproduction of reef
building corals. The purpose of SECORE is to develop techniques for large
scale breeding of a wide range of coral species.
Steve Piontek, Curaçao Sea Aquarium, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sea Aquarium
has several education programs to show children what's under the water.
Since lots of Curaçao kids have no idea what creatures live in
the sea, they get information about animals and even get a chance to touch
the animals and see them from close distance. They will for instance feed
the sea turtles and the sharks, they can swim with dolphins ('a lifetime
experience') and they go snorkeling so they can see the corals with their
own eyes. From January to October 2002 nearly 8000 schoolchildren visited
the Aquarium. The Aquarium also has a Snorkel Club and a Junior Dive Club.
Leon Pors, manager of the Curaçao Underwaterpark, Carmabi, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, email@example.com
The marine park was
founded in 1983. According to Pors little or nothing has happened since.
With the help of the World Wildlife Fund, a manager was appointed in the
nineties of the last century, but when the island took over, there was
no more money to effectively manage the park. In 1995 a draft marine ordinance
was written and with money from the European Community a ranger could
be hired for a period of two years. Pors: "We hoped that in the meantime
the government would pass the ordinance. With a legal basis for the park
we could have asked dive fees." Without a legal status, no official
dive fees can be charged. With their proceeds Carmabi could cover the
expenses of boats and rangers, as is the case on Bonaire.
Craig Quirolo was
a charter boat captain who took people to the reefs for snorkeling. By
1985 he realized that he was killing the reef he was living on by anchoring
his boat on it. His first initiative was to talk to the other charter
captains in order to get mooring buoys to prevent damage by anchoring.
Henk Renken, project manager Bonaire Marine Park, Netherlands Antilles, firstname.lastname@example.org
started his job in October 2002. He studied tropical coastal management
at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, in the UK where he received
his M.Sc.degree, and had never been to Bonaire when he applied for the
* Lac is the most important and pristine seagrass area in the Dutch Caribbean. It is a large inner bay of about 2000 acres on Bonaire's east coast, bordered by extensive mangrove forests. On the eastern side of the lagoon, a barrier reef protects the bay from the impact of waves and severe storms. Thus, the three major marine ecosystems (coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves) are present in this bay, making it unique in the Dutch Caribbean. Lac has been part of the Bonaire Marine Park since 1979.
Brad Rosov, The Nature Conservancy of the Florida Keys. email@example.com
or long-spined urchin, was once considered one of the main herbivores
of the Caribbean reefs. But in1983 a mysterious plague swept through the
Caribbean and Western Atlantic killing approximately 95% of all Diadema.
Combining the effects of nutrients, overfishing and the Diadema die-off,
many of our coral reefs are shifting from a coral dominated reef to an
Fernando Simal, interim manager Bonaire Marine Park, Netherlands Antilles. firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally from Spain, Simal used to
live on Bonaire from 1989 until 1993. He got to know a lot of people there
and after he left for the Venezuelan Island of Margarita the park management
remembered him when they needed a park manager for the Washington Slagbaai
National Park on the island. He took the job and presently he is the interim
manager for the Marine Park as well.
Paul Spiertz, project manager Plantages PortoMari email@example.com
Paul Spiertz, a civil engineer by profession,
made a plan for the former owner of the PortoMari Plantation, who wanted
to develop a traditional housing project on the former plantation. This
plan was canceled when PortoMari was sold to Jack Scheepbouwer, who preferred
conservation, recovery and use of PortoMari's still pristine nature. Spiertz:
'The area had been neglected for 60 years so we had to do some restoring.'
Menno van der Velde, Reef Care Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reef Care Curaçao
(Fundashon Kuida Ref Korsou) is a volunteer organization established in
2002 to protect and preserve the coral reefs around Curaçao. Reef
Care's activities are centered around scientific projects, educational
projects, public awareness and specific protection actions such as the
anti speargun campaign.
Comments: 'With this
conference the first steps have been taken towards regional initiatives.
Small steps, though, but I think we should make small steps to achieve
our goal, the protection of the reefs.'
'The good news is
that most Caricomp sites show no change in the last seven years. The bad
news is that it hasn't gotten any better either. As a rule of thumb a
minimum of 50% is a good coral cover. We now say 45% is good, but that's
because that's the best we have', said George Warner during the Coral
Reef Conference. Warner came to Curaçao to talk about Caricomp.
Caricomp has two centers, one in Florida (the secretariat also taking
care of fundraising), the other in Jamaica, the Caribbean Coastal Data
Centre. Every island that is connected to the network does its own monitoring
and sends the data to Jamaica for archiving and analysis. The data are
spread via the Internet as well. Warner showed the audience that not all
islands are connected yet and that some islands stopped producing data,
mostly because of a lack of volunteers. He urged the participants to link