The region to marry Marine Science and Marine Policy
Regional marine scientists are calling for better communication between marine science and marine policy makers in the Caribbean.
This came to the fore at a panel discussion at the Garraway Hotel on July 20th, initiated by the Center for Resource Management and Environment Studies (CERMES) and the University of the West Indies, through the implementation of its Local Area Management Project (LAMP).
Panelists at the discussion included Conservation Biologist Nicole Leotaud, Grenadian Marine Protected Areas Officer Roland Baldeo, multi-award winning journalist Indi Lafayette, Barbadian Fisheries Officer Dr Patrick McConney and Dominica’s Chief Fisheries Officer Mr Andrew Magloire.
Dr McConney said that the discussion covered several important areas.
“We covered small scale fishing, marine protected areas, climate change, people’s livelihood and the whole notion that there need to be better communication between science and policy so that as a Caribbean people, we can use science information combined with, of course, other information to make better policy decisions that facilitate sustainable development,” said McConney.
Ms Leotaud outlined the importance of scientific information in the developmental process, adding that a regional approach is critical in managing the coastline marine resources.
“We also need to remember that we are all policy makers and when decisions are made for our community or country or Caribbean region, that we should have one voice and we should be able to ‘save the day’. Our people need to be able to ask scientists the questions like: What will happen to our fishes? We need to understand the science which may seem complicated at times, we need to have it broken down for us and we need to be comfortable that we can make decisions together,” said Leotaud.
Dominica’s Chief Fisheries Officer Mr Andrew Magloire viewed the discussion as a mechanism aimed at bridging the gap between the value of science and good policy.
“We believe that if we can get the policy makers to appreciate the idea, they can develop much better policies and much more consistent and reliable policies, if they simply depend a little more on the information coming from scientists to guide those policy directions. We think that this would be doing a lot of justice in terms of the use of marine resources,” said Magloire.
Coming from these discussions, the parties are expected establish a local area management authority strategy to allow community management of resources to reduce fishing pressure in and around marine protected areas.