Scientific assessment of Montserrat’s coastal waters to begin next week
BRADES – In joint partnership with the Government of Montserrat, the Waitt Institute will lead an expedition to investigate the status of marine resources in Montserrat’s coastal habitats. The aim of the scientific assessment is to produce a report on marine resources around Montserrat that can be used to inform the development of policies to manage these resources sustainably.
This assessment is a critical step in Blue Halo Montserrat and its comprehensive, science-based approach to ocean zoning. The Waitt vessel will be used as a platform for conducting this SCUBA-based research.
Minister Claude Hogan remarked, “It’s an exciting next stage of the Montserrat Blue Halo project. We’re looking forward to the scientific results of the expedition that will help us make decisions about how to better manage our marine resources.”
Research will be conducted by twelve visiting expert Caribbean marine biologists, in collaboration with several local divers. The research team will study approximately 150 locations in the waters around Montserrat. At each location, data will be collected on corals, algae, fish, invertebrates, and water quality. The web application SeaSketch is to be used to coallate the data and residents can also make contributions at http://montserrat.seasketch.org .
Some of the scientists will also visit local schools to talk about marine biology in general and what’s happening during the scientific assessment in particular.
All data collected during the scientific assessment will be provided to the Government of Montserrat per the Memorandum of Understanding that has been signed between the government and the Waitt Institute on sharing data. A full report of the Assessment’s findings will be made available to the public later this fall after all the data is analyzed.