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Staff from six marine protected areas from Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines recently trained in lionfish capture and handling during the third annual networking meeting of the marine protected areas of the Grenadines, from August 28 to August 30, 2013 in Carriacou.
Grenada Sustainable Grenadines, an integrated development and biodiversity conservation NGO, gave rangers/wardens from the two countries an opportunity to get hands-on experience in managing lionfish.
The marine protected areas that were represented from St. Vincent and the Grenadines included the Tobago Cays Marine Park, Mustique Marine Conservation Area and the South Coast Marine Conservation Area. On the Grenada end, the Sandy Island/Oyster Bed, Woburn/Clark’s Court and Moliniere-Beausejour Marine Protected Areas were represented.
The lionfish is an invasive species that poses a threat to native reef fish in the Caribbean Sea. Their voracious appetites, coupled with their rapid reproductive rate, are making lionfish a major obstacle in marine conservation. Their management is necessary for the health of the fisheries and tourism industries, which are the basis of livelihoods for many people in Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The marine protected areas of the Grenadines is a network originally established in 2011.
Other areas of focus during the three-day meeting were the sharing of best management practices for coral reef conservation, the importance of mangrove ecosystems and marine law enforcement. On the last day of the event, local school children took part with the rangers/wardens in a series of outdoor marine education activities.