CARIMAM Meeting 2019
STINAPA biologist Caren Eckrich attended the second CARIMAM meeting in Guadeloupe this month. CARIMAM is a Caribbean network of marine protected area managers working for the conservation of marine mammals (dolphins, whales, manatees, etc.). It’s funded by INTEREG Caribbean, the main partner is the French Biodiversity Agency through the Agoa Marine Mammal Sanctuary and the main purpose is to strengthen cooperation throughout the Caribbean.
There were more than 60 participants from over 20 Caribbean islands and territories. New programs and research were presented and there were workshops on stranding data management, outreach and communication strategies, mpa management plans, and whale watching concerns. Caren also met with the director of the Guadeloupe/Martinique regional Sargassum response, Jerome Roch, and discussed strategies and equipment, successes and failures, and recent research findings. STINAPA responds to about one marine mammal stranding each year and we also work together with DCNA to promote and share marine mammal sightings around Bonaire. STINAPA would like to do more to learn about and protect our marine mammals – potential projects include: mounting a hydrophone (underwater microphone) to record calls, initiating a photo identification program, and getting more people trained in stranding response. We also plan to inform operators and boat-owners about regulations for boaters when approaching marine mammals. This event was a great opportunity to gain more insights and connect with other professional in the area.