April 28, 2014

New Team of EcoDivers Trained up in Grenada

EcoDiver certification!

By Reef Check EcoDiver Course Director Moshira Hassan

I had the pleasure of leading a Reef Check training at the Molinière Beauséjour Marine Protected Area (MBMPA) in Grenada, W.I. in the Caribbean during the second half of March. The training was supported by Olando Harvey, a long-time Reef Check scientist and trainer in the region, and was very well organized with the help of Ezra Campbell, the National Project Officer of CATS. These activities were part of the regional program: “Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions (CATS) – Management of Coastal Resources and Conservation of Marine Biodiversity”, which focuses on improving the sustainable management of five Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

We were a good team. Six participants took part in the training- employees of the MPAs and the Fisheries Division, as well as a community member of the MBMPA were certified as EcoDivers. Congratulations! Two additional EcoDivers, students at Saint George’s University, volunteered during the training and took part in subsequent surveys. Safe diving, especially for those EcoDiver trainees with little diving experience, was ensured by the excellent support of “Native Spirits”, a local diving center.

Grenada and Saint George’s in particular are a popular tourist destination with hundreds of motor and sailing yachts daily and several very large cruise ships a week. The waters at the MBMPA are impacted by a number of human activities, the effects of which could be seen at several sites. As is so often the case, MPA regulations are often ignored. The MPA does however patrol the area and we watched as they followed a fishing boat that was poaching in the MPA. Several mooring buoys are installed, which are mostly used.

On a personal level, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. It is always great to work with motivated and eager people! I also enjoyed the underwater world, which is so very different from the reefs in the Indo-Pacific region to which I am accustomed!

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Wayne Smart and McKell Frank discussing substrate categories with Moshira Flamingo Bay
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Boating in Grenada Ezra Campbell on her first training survey