The Sustainable Grenadines Inc (SusGren) coordinated the Eight Meeting of the Grenadine Network of Marine Protected Areas (GNMPA), on mainland St Vincent and the Grenadines during the period March 11th-13th 2019. It was the first time that the meeting was held on mainland SVG.
The overall focus of the meeting was to establish a "Community Researcher" Program based on the successful model developed by the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) in Belize. The objectives of the meeting were as follows: to share the status of the individual Marine Protected Areas(MPA), to introduce MPA's to the Community Researcher Program according to MPA needs, to plan the next coral reef monitoring expedition and associated ecosystems and to update the most important management decision or information needs facing the MPAs and consider the best ways to communicate new/ updated findings for target audiences.
Day One of the three–day meeting included updates from representatives of each participating MPA, and presentation by Mr. Joseph Villafranco (TIDE) on the “Community Researcher" Program. Day Two comprised of a recap of the Grenadines Monitoring Framework, success stories and a working session on the Feasibility of a Community Researcher Programme within GNMPA. The final day included an update on the Coral Reef expedition project, a working session on Site selection criteria, network communication strategy as well as a snorkeling exercise at the South Coast Marine Conservation Area.
The GNMPA comprises six (6) MPAs across the Grenadine Bank namely:Moliniere-Beausejour Marine Park, Sandy Island-Oyster Bed Marine Protected Area, and Woburn- Clarks Courts Bay Marine Park in Grenada, and Mustique Marine Conservation Area, Tobago Cays Marine Park and the South Coast Marine Conservation Area in SVG.