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.

Mise à l’eau des caméras Drowning of the cameras

Mise à l’eau des caméras  Drowning of the cameras
Mise à l’eau des caméras Drowning of the cameras

The Réserve de Saint-Martin, which since 2014 has led the Project Negara study of lemon sharks, hosted a group of Dutch scientists working with the Marine Park of Sint Maarten, on April 21 and 22, 2015, along with Tadzio Bervoets, the Park director. The two academics were with consultants on assignment by the Dutch government, in order to increase knowledge about the marine zones in the Dutch Antilles, with a special focus on the identification, distribution, and management of sharks and rays. After working in Saint Eustatius and Saba, this team spent two months in Sint Maarten, where they sampled 150 points in the sea and observed numerous Caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks. Knowing that lemon sharks and tiger sharks had been found in the waters around the French side of the island, the Marine Park contacted the Réserve Naturelle, which lent its expertise to the study by suggesting 18 observation points. The technique used by the Dutch comprised submerging two cameras that recorded in stereo and filmed everything that passed in their field of vision, with bait attached on a telescoping pole to attract these large predators. This means of recording allows for a precise measurement of the size of the sharks, and provides information about the stage of development of the species filmed. Over the course of two days, aboard the boat belonging to the Réserve, three systems of two high-definition cameras were submerged for one hour, pulled out of the water, and then re-submerged at another point, on so on. The Dutch and French each worked on their respective projects : the Dutch concentrating on an inventory and diversity of the various species; and the French continuing their study of the lemon shark, to acquire additional expertise in the manipulation of these individuals. The images recorded will be examined, with the data collected used to enrich global knowledge about sharks. «There are sharks in the waters around Saint Martin that pose absolutely no danger and even signify the good health of our ecosystems. They represent an interesting subject of observation for divers, as the sharks are furtive but not very fierce. But we must not forget that these are wild animals and they should never be fed,” explains Julien Chalifour.

All articles from: Newsletter-23

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