Day 1 Update on Blue Halo #MontserratExpedition2015
LITTLE BAY – Officials have been receiving preliminary reports on the Montserrat Expedition 2015 scientific study now on the way with the Waitt Institute.
Currently 12 visiting marine biologists, in collaboration with several local divers are spending most of their days underwater looking at the conditions of Montserrat’s ocean resources.
The research team is expected to visit about 150 locations in the waters around Montserrat. At each location, data will be collected on corals, algae, fish, invertebrates, and water quality.
Waitt’s Science Manager Andy Estep said the first two days were focused on the waters from the NW Bluff to Old Road Bluff.
On Day one they visited nearly 50 sites and surveyed fish and coral on 20 sites.
Estep said of note is that they are “encountering a great deal of invasive seagrass, Halophila stipulacea. We have even encountered it growing inside branching corals on the reef.”
According to research this seagrass is native to the Indian Ocean but has begun to be seen more frequently in the Eastern Caribbean.
Early this year, the Waitt Institute sign an MOU with the Government of Montserrat to implement the Blue Halo Initiative. This initiative is focused on developing and implementing science-based, community-driven coastal policies and practices.It is already in operation on Barbuda and Curacao.