Morant Cay research 1996

Catherine Michael

This joint University of London/University of the West Indies project set out to follow the IUCN recommendations "studies should be undertaken... with a view to declaration of the area as a marine park or conservation area" for Morant Cays, Jamaica. Surveys were undertaken on: Queen conch and Landed Fish Catch, both requested by the Jamaican Fisheries Division; Sea turtle nesting and tagging working with the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network; Continued habitat mapping of the Cays; Estimating hard coral cover; and a CARICOMP permanent site. Part of the team returned to Kingston in June 1997 to present the data collected during the last two years in a seminar at the University of the West Indies on the 20th June, chaired by Dr Jeremy Woodley. In addition to the data presented by the team additional talks were given by speakers working in other areas of Jamaica. The audience consisted of representatives of all the groups who have an interest in the Morant Cays including the local fishermen’s association and politicians who represent the constituencies the fishermen come from. The objectives of the seminar are to present the project data and to stimulate feedback to allow the formulation of a management plan which will then be implemented by the local agencies such as the Jamaican Fisheries Department and the NRCA. The expedition report should be completed in September and will cover both the research findings and details of logistics.