The much anticipated Biophysical Monitoring Training Course for our staff at the Tobago Cays Marine Park was completed; six staff members are now certified and can conduct routine Biophysical Monitoring at the Marine Park.
The Biophysical Monitoring Training Program provided the TCMP with the institutional capacity to determine the changes in abundance, size, species composition and biomass of ecologically and economically important species within our Marine Protected Area.
The Training Course (theoretical and practical) covered the following components:
Beach Profiling – provides information that can be used to monitor whether sediment (i.e., sand) along the section of the beach being monitored is eroding or accreting and to quantify the level of change.
Benthic Resource Monitoring – The theoretical session focused on the objectives of the various monitoring protocols as well as the various equipment and procedures for each methodology.
Participants conducted in-water monitoring for sea grass and sea urchin at two (2) of the permanent monitoring sites and monitor for Queen Conch at three (3) of the permanent monitoring sites within the TCMP.
Water Quality Training – this covered areas such as completing data sheets, labeling sample bottles, collecting water samples and collecting in-situ monitoring parameters (e.g., temperature, turbidity). Water quality analysis for parameters (i.e., Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Nitrates, Phosphates and Coliform Bacteria) were also done.
Data Entry and Analysis – This component of the Biophysical Training Program was designed to allow for the development of monitoring reports that would follow all monitoring activities and help to facilitate the adaptive management process of the TCMP.
The Biophysical Training Program was conducted between the period December 15th to 23rd 2020 by Marine Protected Area Solutions (MPAS) under the ongoing project “Enhancement of resource management capacity within the Tobago Cays Marine Park” funded by the SVG Conservation Fund.
As part of the ongoing project “Enhancement of resource management capacity within the Tobago Cays Marine Park” funded by the SVG Conservation Fund, four (4) of our park rangers were recently trained in Advance SCUBA Diving.
The training courses, both classroom and in-water, were conducted between the period 5th – 16th October by instructor Brad Fagan under Grenadines Dive, a certified training center located on Union Island.
Our park rangers Keithron Deroche, Verronie Pope and D’Vern Allen are all now PADI Certified Advanced Open Water Divers and having met all the PADI standards, received their PADI Certification Card.
Our senior park ranger, Benjamin Wilson, completed the PADI Rescue Diver course, he excelled at both the classroom and in-water components and scored 90% in his final examinations.
Recently under the project, we procured four (4) sets of dive equipment, critical safety and emergency equipment that will be used by our divers. The park rangers are now well equipped to conduct continuous biophysical monitoring at the park, training in biophysical monitoring under the project will begin shortly.
The overall goal of this project is to enhance the institutional capacity of the TCMP to effectively fulfill its mandate “To protect and conserve the resources of the Tobago Cays”.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Project launched to enhance the institutional capacity of the TCMP
Clifton, Union Island – June 25th 2020 | The Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP) received a grant of XCD$131,360.00 which will be used to enhance the institutional capacity of the TCMP. The grant was received from the St Vincent and the Grenadines Conservation Fund (SVGCF) following their first call for proposals.
Leading up to the award of the grant, the management of the TCMP submitted a comprehensive project proposal to the SVGCF titled “Enhancement of resource management capacity within the Tobago Cays Marine Park”. Additional in-kind funding will be contributed by the TCMP, bringing the total project value to XCD $185,870.00.
The project, which will be executed over a one year period and will produce several deliverables, fulfilling the mandate of the TCMP “to protect and conserve the resources of the Tobago Cays” while being environmentally friendly and climate smart.
Objectives of the project are: to reduce the emissions and increase fuel efficiency of operations by at least 20%; increase institutional capacity by training at least four park rangers in water based activities (monitoring marine resources and maintaining moorings) and to establish a comprehensive biophysical (conch, coral reef, sea turtle ) monitoring program.
The project will deliver new dive equipment, biophysical monitoring equipment, two 60hp (4-stroke) outboard engines for the TCMP patrol vessel and a fully trained and equipped team of rangers at the park.
An online launching of the project was held on Tuesday June 16th with remarks from the Management of the TCMP; Director of Grenadines Affairs, Mr. Edwin Snagg and Chairman of the SVGCF, Mr. Michael John.
In his remarks, John, stressed on the importance of educating students about the TCMP describing the park as world class. He said while the tangible result of the project is meaningful, the success of the project is also hinged upon the development of human resource and education.
Manager of the TCMP, Lesroy Noel, in his remarks stated that the project is consistent with and helps to address a number of St. Vincent and the Grenadines regional and international commitments and national biodiversity priorities.
“The conservation measures implemented within the TCMP addresses SVG’s attempts to address over-exploitation of plant and animal species, habitat loss or fragmentation and global climate change as articulated in the National Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan for St. Vincent & the Grenadines” Noel said.
Noel also explained that the management of the TCMP is responsible for the conservation and sustainable use of the resources so as to preserve the historical aspects while developing novel livelihood opportunities for the people of the Grenadines and SVG as a whole.
The Tobago Cays Marine Park is the only marine protected area (MPA) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). The main office is located on Union Island with a satellite office on Mayreau, and is staffed by nineteen permanent workers including a manager, an accountant, administrative officers and a team of park rangers.
The Park is located approximately 5 miles sailing east of Union Island and is a 6,450 hectare multiuse land and sea MPA which include five primary uninhabited Cays: Petite Tabac, Petite Bateau, Petite Rameau, Baradal, and Jamesby and the inhabited Island of Mayreau.
The waters of the TCMP has extensive coral reef, seagrass beds and sandy bottom habitats, home to healthy populations of marine life (fish, conch, sea turtles). Similarly, the Cays are also home to significant populations of terrestrial flora and fauna (iguanas, tortoises, opossums and birds). The rich biological diversity of the TCMP is further enhanced by the strong seafaring history of sailing and fishing of the adjacent islands.
Clifton, Union Island