Marine Protected Areas has benefits, says Statia Conservation Specialist

Marine Park Manager, Statia National Marine Park Ms. Jessica Berkel

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (November 06, 2012) — Marine Park Manager, Statia National Marine Park Ms. Jessica Berkel underscored the importance of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) as she drew from her island’s experience in that area.

The Conservation Specialist who was a facilitator at the recent Marine Protected Awareness Workshop for stake holders and Fishers was at the time delivering brief remarks at the opening ceremony at the Ingle Blackett Conference Room in Charlestown. The event was hosted by the Department of Fisheries on Nevis and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/CEP and the Caribbean Marine Protected Area Network (CaMPAM).

“Statia is very much smaller than St. Kitts and Nevis but we have an MPA established and we have been doing some very good work for the past 15 years and I am very happy to share my story with you … [and] try to encourage the fishermen to cooperate because we do have a lot of fish on Statia and we all do believe it is because we had an MPA in place for so long,” she said.

Director of Fisheries on Nevis Ms. Althea Arthurton

Meantime, Director of Fisheries in the Nevis Island Administration’s Fisheries Department Ms. Althea Arthurton explained that the workshop was a follow up session to a Training of Trainers workshop on MPAs attended by herself and Assistant Fisheries Officer of the Department of Fisheries in St. Kitts Mr. Lorinston Jenkins just over one year ago in Belize.

She noted that its purpose was to enlighten those who had no knowledge on the issue and as a refresher course for those who already had knowledge of MPAs.

According to Ms. Arthurton, the workshop’s co sponsor CaMPAM represented a partnership of marine managers, educators, Non Government Organisation (NGOs) and other users of the MPAs in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Region.

The one day workshop, she further explained, had a number of objectives and education topped the list.

Assistant Fisheries Officer of the Department of Fisheries in St. Kitts Mr. Lorinston Jenkins

“To educate and bring awareness to 44 stake holders such as fishers, divers and NGOs about the need to establish MPS in St. Kitts and Nevis; to increase knowledge that would contribute to the conservation and protection of the fishery resources and their habitats and preserve marine life (flora and fauna),” she said.

The training also served to enhance awareness of echo systems and their benefits for sustainable livelihoods; to provide scientific research opportunities and support the sharing of local knowledge and success stories by someone with MPA experience; to introduce to stakeholders the idea of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) and Aquaculture as alternative means of livelihood and to establish an agreement for future collaboration.

A similar workshop was also held in St. Kitts.

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