While the vast sunburnt continent of Australia and the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada may seem worlds apart, they both share the challenges of protecting their marine environment in a changing climate... and understand that local communities and reef users are crucial to its future too.
Sharing tales of stewardship
In the spirit of these connections, a delegation of reef managers from Grenada visited Australia in August on a knowledge exchange mission to learn about the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)’s successful Reef Guardian stewardship program – and share some of their own experiences in inspiring action to help the reef.
Life is sweet: Mr Roland Baldeo tastes local sugar cane from the Gregory farm in Gordonvale, North Queensland. Sugar cane and bananas are the major farming crops in Grenada.
National Marine Protected Area Co-ordinator Roland Baldeo and Reef Stewardship officer Christabelle Andrews, both from theGrenada’s Fisheries Division, attended GBRMPA workshops and visited local Reef Guardians, who shared knowledge and experiences about their involvement in the program – which recognises and builds support for participation by everyday people in coral reef management.
Kidding around: Reef Guardian school students tell the tale of Bubbles the green sea turtle to Grenada delegates, and how their reef-friendly activities are helping to protect turtles and other marine species.
Guardians for Grenada
They’ve taken this knowledge home, where with the help of the Australia Caribbean Coral Reef Collaboration, they will shortly launch a Grenada Reef Guardian stewardship program, involving local fishermen, farmers, communities and schools in the protection and management of the the Moliniere-Beausejour Marine Protected Area of Grenada.
“Grenada has a passion for its reefs as an international tourist attraction but they’re under pressure from fishing and pollution. This program will help Grenada take action to look after reefs and also protect livelihoods and cultural connections with their reefs.’’
Roland Baldeo said the knowledge exchange mission was invaluable in providing the foundations for Grenada, and eventually other Caribbean countries, to extend their work with local communities as stewards of their coral reefs.
The Grenada Reef Guardian program launches at an event in St Georges, Grenada on the 18th of September. To learn more about the program or the activities planned for the launch, contact Christabelle Andrews, Reef Guardian Officer, at email@example.com