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.

Gonzalo: a surprising underwater Impact

Reconstruction de BioHab après le passage de Gonzalo
Reconstruction of BioHab after hurricane Gonzalo

Gonzalo not only caused a lot of damage on the water, but also under the water as well. At a depth of 20 meters, the hurricane managed to displace the modules of cinder block that create the Bio- Hab artificial reef. A team from the Réserve did a dive once the water was clear enough to see how many of the modules had been disturbed or actually moved. This gave them an idea of the violent nature of the water during the storm and how it had such an impact at that depth. The damage was limited in that none of the blocks were actually broken and the Réserve crew is already reconstructing that which they so carefully put in place last year. Curiously, some new species have appeared about the BioHab, such as a species from the Haemulon family and a lionfish, that had previously not been seen at this site. On the other hand, some other species are no longer there, such as adult lobsters, which may have moved to other sites with the strong currents. This unexpected damage will slow down the Bio- Hab2 project, planned at a depth of 15 meters. One note of good news: the coral reefs do not seem to be impacted by Gonzalo..

The details about the colonization around the BioHab in Saint Martin is no longer a secret for the 200 specialists of marine resource management who came from the Gulf of Mexico and the entire Caribbean basin to attend the 67th annual meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, held this year in Barbados. Julien Chalifour, head of the scientific division of the Réserve, presented the BioHab project, which was of great interest to the attendees. His trip was made possible thanks to funds from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Regional Activity Center For Protected Spaces and Species in the Caribbean (CAR-SPAW).Julien Chalifour présentant le projet BioHab . Julien Chalifour presenting the BioHab project

All articles from: Newsletter-22

Managing The Impact Of Human Activities In Protected Areas

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