The Grenadines are home to numerous species of sea birds and migratory birds. Species of birds found only on this chain of islands include the Lesser Antillean tanager, whistling warbler, Grenada flycatcher and St. Vincent parrot. Critically endangered leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles also find refuge in the protected areas of the Grenadines.
Many human activities continue to jeopardize the health of the Grenadines ecosystems, including “slash and burn” deforestation, agricultural runoff, overgrazing, sand mining, and poaching. Fishing threatens the area, not only by over fishing, but mangrove harvesting for boats and uncontrolled anchoring. The area continues to be subject to unregulated tourism activities in the form of coastal development, including marinas and golf courses, and off shore cruise ships. Pollution has become such a problem that swimming has been cautioned in many areas.
A Strategy of Success
PiP began working in the Grenadines in 2002, with an eco-regional approach and targeting specific priority areas to create a system of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Tobago Cays National Park and Sandy Island MPA were chosen as the sites to begin the process of site consolidation and conservation. Tobago Cays, the only legally declared MPA in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, had strong community support yet lacked the resources and political support for conservation, especially in regulating tourism development. Sandy Island, on the island of Carriacou in Grenada, demonstrates the difficulty with MPAs in Grenada when the government cut the budget for MPAs. Secondary sites were later selected in Grenada at Woburn & Clark MPA and Moliniere MPA – these are areas that will receive a smaller level of support to prepare them for eventual inclusion in the system of MPAs.
PiP has worked at strengthening the conservation capacity of the Fisheries Department in each country at the specific MPAs and across all sites. PIP has also focused on establishing relationships with local environmental organizations, local communities, and biological and socio-economic experts in the area. PIP began supporting groups like the Mayreau Environmental and Development Organization (St. Vincent), YWF-Kido Foundation and Carriacou Environmental Committee (Grenada), and Grenada Community Development Agency (GRENCODA). Ocean Spirits, in Grenada, has developed a web-based environmental education tool to be used in schools across the Grenadines. PiP has also provided kayaks for Kido’s turtle monitoring project so that the beaches could be patrolled by water rather than dangerous inland routes. PiP plans to coordinate with local communities to develop ecotourism strategies and environmental education strategies targeting schools and policy makers.
PiP uses Conservation Area Planning to identify the threats and priority areas in the region to add to the MPA system. PiP will be working in the Grenadines until 2007 with the goal of creating two declared, functioning MPAs with adequate management and partnership support to serve as models for the greater Marine Protected Area System.
Read more about the Grenadines...
Grenadana/St. Vincent & the Grenadines Partner Organizations
The Nature Conservancy in the Grenadines