The Government of Grenada through the ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs established the Sandy Island Oyster Bed Marine Protected Area (SIOBMPA) in July 2010. SIOBMPA comprises of 787 hectares of extensive reef systems with a wide variety of coral species, extensive mangrove forest and sea-grass beds as well as small islands, located on the southwest coast of Carriacou. It is considered to be one of the most important marine ecosystems in the region and a culturally significant area for the people of Carriacou. The community adjacent to SIOBMPA, L’Estere, has a population of about 771 persons. Approximately 80 of them are registered fishers, with an unknown number of unregistered fishers.
The SIOBMPA is managed under a Co- management agreement between the National MPA committee and the SIOBMPA Co-management Board. The National MPA Management Committee through the Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs is responsible for the provision of MPA wardens and assisting with infrastructure. Day to Day operations of SIOBMPA such as warden supervision is to be carried out by the Fisheries Officer for Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs.
Photos: Scenic view of the Sandy Island Oyster Bed MPA in Carriacou (above); As with many places in the Caribbean, fish play an important role in home food (right, S. Lee).
Through a C-FISH partnership, SIOBMPA has been able to:
The Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs currently employs three MPA wardens for SIOBMPA. Day to day activities are currently managed by the former Chair and representative of the Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, on the SIOBMPA Board, who is also a full time employee of the Ministry, in another capacity. The current priority needs include the following:
- A full time manager and an additional warden to enhance management capacity.
- A purpose-built patrol boat and equipment for communication and safety to enhance the enforcement capacity of the MPA.
- Communication and GPS equipment to enable fishers to exploit fishing resources further offshore.
- Opportunities for peer to peer learning exchanges with fishers at successful MPAs.
- Support for public awareness activities.