Why conduct Research in the SMMA?
Science in Support of sustainable Resource Use
The marine ecosystem of the SMMA consists of narrow fringing reefs, volcanic boulder fields and sand sheets bordering on deep, oligotrophic waters of the Eastern Caribbean Sea. The people of Saint Lucia depend on the coupled terrestrial and marine resources of the area for their livelihoods and recreation.
These resources must be conserved and their use managed carefully if they are to retain their values in the face of escalating human activity. For the management of the SMMA to be adaptive, it must be informed of the effectiveness of various strategies for achieving the goals of conservation and sustainability. Such assessment should be objective and quantitative where appropriate, and should support the development of predictive models.
What kinds of scientific studies are conducted in the SMMA?
Monitoring programmes are designed to measure change of the SMMA ecosystem in response to human activities and environmental forcing. The routine measurements attempt to track environmental, biological and socioeconomic variables at key locations in the SMMA over the long term. They include:
- Beach erosion and sand movement (G. Chambers)
- Water quality in the watershed and receving waters (CEHI)
- Coral reef community structure, live coral and algal cover (J.Nowlis & CANARI)
- Sedimentation rates on the reef. (CANARI, C. Roberts)
- Reef Fish censuses (C. Roberts)
- Fisheries catch and effort (DOF)
Research projects are designed to improve knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of the marine ecosystem of the Soufriere coast. They range from studies of coral fish migration to profiles of the Soufriere community.
- Fishery profile of Soufriere Fishery (Helen Bigot, IFREMER)
- Socioeconomic study of the Soufriere Community (CANARI)
- SERFS – Soufriere Experiment in Reef Fisheries Sustainbility (B.Hatcher – CFRAMP)
- Marine Park recreational use study (T.van’t Hoff, CANARI)
Monitoring and research activities are conducted by internal, national and international agencies, coordinated through the Chief Fisheries Officer, Department of Fisheries.
- Buckets of fish! A study of the effects of the SMMA on fish catches (by Dr. Fiona Gell)
- Why is it so important to monitor the sedimentation rate in our ocean? (by Chris Schelten)
- Research report: An examination of reef fish larvae (by Henri Valles)
- Don’t bury our beloved coral reefs! (by Maggy Nugues, Chris Schelten and Callum Roberts)
- Marine Reserves are for Fishermen (by Dr. Callum Roberts)
Featured Web Site:
Stakeholder Analysis and Natural Resource Conflict Management: An Alternative to Itchy and Scratchy Jacques M. Chevalier. This web site contains quite a good synthesis of the literature and thinking on stakeholder analysis.