La Réserve naturelle de Saint-Martin est une aire marine protégée de 30km2 située au nord-est de l’île de Saint-Martin. Créé en 1998, cet espace préserve les cinq principaux écosystèmes de l’île : récifs coralliens, mangroves, herbiers de phanérogames, étangs et forêt sèche littorale. La Réserve gère également les 14 étangs du Conservatoire du littoral et ses 11 km de rivages terrestres naturels.

A project to protect two species of grouper

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Mérou de Nassau © Julien Chalifour
Mérou de Nassau © Julien Chalifour

The European LIFE Program disposes three billion euros to fund projects that promote the environment and climate between 2014 and 2020. This year, LIFE targeted species that have special conservations needs, and the Réserve Naturelle presented a dossier aspiring to restoring two species of grouper: the Nassau grouper, which rarely reaches adult size due to over fishing, and the giant grouper, which can be observed locally in an anecdotal fashion, once every two or three years. Appreciated by divers due to their curiosity toward them, these fish are superior predators ecologically speaking—they could take care of the lionfish population for example— but also economically in the long term, for the delicacy of their flesh. This dossier is part of an international collaboration with Martinique, Barbados, Florida, and mainland France, and is part of a global project proposed by Overseas France, and coordinated by the League for the Protection of Birds, which is not sectarian. The dossier constituted by the Réserve is based on several projects, but the ultimate goal is the sustainable management of these populations:

  • Creation of a socio-economic report on the role of these species in Saint Martin in terms of ecology, consumption, and tradition;
  • Study of the state of these populations still present; • Public awareness in general and in particular for school students;
  • Experimental studies on the recruitment of these two species, knowing that grouper larva migrates for several months over hundreds of miles, depending on the currents, before the post-larval and young grouper settle onto the reefs;
  • A study on the evolution of regulations concerning these two species. More than 200,000 euros was allotted to the Réserve for the period 2018-2023. This budget will allow the Réserve to finance visits by specialists to create diagnostics and train the agents. A project manager will be recruited shortly: this post will be shared between the LIFE program and the AFB project for the preservation of sea turtles. (see article page 24).

All articles from: Journal-33

To promote the conservation of the coral reefs and related species

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