Fisheries management project in UK overseas territories delayed after hurricanes
A project funded by the government of the United Kingdom to ensure that spiny lobster and conch fisheries in British overseas territories in the Caribbean are managed sustainably has been delayed for several months due to the recent hurricanes that pummeled the region.
The Darwin Plus project, to be administered by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in the British territories of Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), was due to begin this year. However, a Cefas representative told SeafoodSource that “the project was delayed because of the damage caused by the hurricanes. We hope to start again in April.”
The project which is receiving GBP 228,500 (EUR 260,000, USD 309,000) in grant funding, to be distributed among the three territories, would also serve to support “a healthy marine environment, food security, national economies and livelihoods for coastal communities,” according to a release on the BVI government's website.
A goal of the project is to enhance the skills, knowledge, and tools of fisheries managers and fishers in the overseas territories and “plans include the assessment of the current state of the stock of conch and spiny lobster, data collection along the Anegada Horseshoe Reef Fisheries Protected Area and the creation of a plan for the sustainable use of the resource well into the future.”
The project will draw on Cefas’ expertise in habitat mapping and fisheries management, to provide a picture of the health of the lobster and conch fisheries.
Cefas works with the U.K. government and U.K. overseas territories, international governments, public and private sector organizations, educational and research institutions, as well as non-governmental organizations “to help create and secure healthy and sustainable marine and freshwater environments,” according to its website.
The Darwin Initiative is a U.K. government grant scheme that helps to protect biodiversity and the natural environment through locally based projects worldwide. Darwin Plus provides funding for environmental projects in overseas U.K. territories.