Towards the end of last year personnel of the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem (CLME) Project organised a workshop to discuss the sorts of information and research that are needed to improve coastal and marine conservation in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The results of that consultation are now available online:
The US Virgin Islands is known for its richness in marine biodiversity, which is one of the main attractions for visiting tourists. However, conservation of the mangrove coastlines, seagrasses, coral reefs, and fishes are essential to sustaining these ecosystems. To date, we continue to search for more information on the best strategies needed for the management and conservation of our marine resources. On October 14, 2010, we carried out a discussion session with several faculty members of the College of Science and Mathematics at the University of the Virgin Islands, who additionally serve as faculty within the Master of Marine and Environmental Science Program (http://mmes.uvi.edu/), and representatives from The Nature Conservancy (St. Thomas) and USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) with the goal of identifying research and information needs to improve measures for management and conservation of marine and coastal resources in the US Virgin Islands.
Overall, most participants emphasized the need for research that is focused on the connectivity among biological/ecological processes and ecosystem-based management, including assessment and optimization of human interactions with the environment. The group also highly stressed the need to evaluate socioeconomic aspects of communities that depend on marine resources for their livelihood. Also, studies focused on the effects of climate change on local communities and identifying the basis or aspects of their resilience. More efforts on education and outreach were also expressed.
[Photo: Chirag Shah]