PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Sint Maarten Yacht Club is getting race-ready with a clinic and seminar led by champion team racer Joel Hanneman from Newport, RI. Joel founded the Rhode Island Team Racing Association and has raced on winning team racing teams representing Seawanhaka Yacht Club and other clubs.
Hanneman is an experienced sailor, having competed from a very young age. His junior career culminated at the ISAF Youth World Championships in South Africa.
After graduating from Tabor Academy in Massachusetts, Hanneman attended Tufts University, where he was a varsity sailor and captained the team his senior year. He received his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2004.
Continuing to sail at the national and international level after college, Hanneman has been a competitive force with his team, the Woonsocket Rockets. In 2007, he earned first place at the U.S. Team Racing Association Mid-Summers and placed third at the U.S. Team Racing Championships.
In 2006, the Rockets earned a fourth place finish at the Hinman Trophy.
The session will cover dinghy team racing, with a focus on team racing that is common with universities sailing.
Hanneman will share his tips and tricks for team racing on Wednesday, June 15th at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.
Dinghy Team Racing
Schedule of the day:
3pm to 5:30pm racing clinic (Youth Sailing School only)
6pm to 7pm seminar at the SMYC (open to all)
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - As part of the Nature Foundation/ Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance regional Save our Sharks Projects the St Maarten Nature Foundation has had discussions with restaurants and stores about the importance of sharks and has asked them to discontinue selling shark products.
Globally, human fishing pressure has resulted in 100 million sharks being killed annually, primarily for products such as shark fin soup, shark steaks and shark pills.
Through discussing the issue and lobbying the industry the Foundation is happy to announce that the following stores and restaurants understand the importance of sharks and will stop selling their shark products on St Maarten: Shang Bola Restaurant, Golden China Restaurant, Carrefour Market, Grand Marche, Fountain of Health and Health Upkeep.
There were still a few restaurants and stores that are still in negotiations to take shark products off of their shelves, but it is expected that this will happen in the near future.
“Sharks are not frightening or dangerous but keep the reefs clean of unhealthy fish, keeping the ecosystem in balance. If we do not have sharks we will lose our coral reef ecosystem and everything which depends on that such as fisheries, dive tourism, beach tourism and the very things which make us a unique island in the Caribbean.
We are very glad with the understanding of the stores and restaurants to decide to discontinue shark products, let’s hope all restaurants and stores will follow their example,” commented Melanie Meijer Zu-Schlochtern, Projects Officer for the Nature Foundation.
Various restaurants have also signed a pledge to not sell shark on their menu considering how endangered the animals are; “We are very grateful to these establishments for seeing the importance in bringing these animals back from the brink of extinction.
100 million sharks are being killed every year and however we can contribute to this number being reduced is very important,” commented Tadzio Bervoets, Manager of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation.
Previously the Foundation discovered various establishments selling Shark Products but with lobbying efforts and in discussing with the business owners they voluntarily decided to stop selling shark products.
Numerous restaurants have also signed an agreement with the Nature Foundation that they would not sell any shark or shark related products to their customers.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The St. Maarten Nature Foundation is collaborating with the University of Groningen (NL) and IMARES Wageningen UR (NL) on a Dutch Caribbean sea turtle project funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).
Green and hawksbill turtles are observed feeding in the waters of St. Maarten with both species also nesting on St. Maarten along with the leatherback turtle.
Green and hawksbill turtles are needed for healthy seagrass and coral reef ecosystems, which are highly valuable ecosystems from an economic, cultural and scientific point of view. However, the green turtle and hawksbill turtle are highly endangered species.
Many nesting populations have disappeared and others have been reduced to dangerously low numbers because of severe hunting and habitat destruction.
Jurjan van der Zee, a PhD candidate from the University of Groningen, is visiting and joining the Nature Foundation for two weeks to measure, tag and sample green and hawksbill turtles foraging in the waters around St. Maarten.
The samples will be used for isotope and DNA analysis. The isotope analysis will reveal the diet of St. Maarten green and hawksbill turtles, for example which species of seagrass are being eaten by green turtles and which sponges are being eaten by hawksbill turtles.
By studying their DNA, St. Maarten green and hawksbill turtles can be traced back to the area where they were born and show which Caribbean nesting populations, some which may be severely endangered, feed in St. Maarten.
The data coming from St. Maarten will be integrated with similar data from the other Dutch Caribbean islands and will be used to help the conservation of sea turtles.
“This project is a part of our work to conserve and protect these endangered species from extinction, and we hope that with the results we can conduct better management actions to ensure that these very important animals make a successful recovery,” commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager.
PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten is very much aware of the importance of sea turtles to the environment and plans to do its part where it concerns sea turtle awareness in conjunction with the Nature Foundation.
The Walter Plantz Square (WPS), a community development project of the Port, sits on Great Bay Beach at Down Street, which is one of the most popular turtle nesting places on the island.
WPS as part of its social community responsibility is working with Nature Foundation and children from the down town area and Down Street along with the community to paint the boulders to create awareness about turtle nesting on the island.
Each year between April and November, female sea turtles return to lay their eggs on the major nesting beaches of Simpson Bay, Guana Bay, and Gibbs Bay and other beaches on the island. There are three sea turtles which nest on St. Maarten beaches, including the Green Sea Turtle and the largest sea turtle species, the Leatherback.
According to the Nature Foundation, sea turtles have existed for well over 180 million years, even before the dinosaurs. St. Maarten is one of the few places in the region that has a nesting population of sea turtles.
The boulders placed at the beach are to prevent vehicles from driving on the beach in the vicinity of WPS. This creates a safe environment for the turtles to nest on the side closest to the water.
Signage will also be erected along the entire boardwalk to alert pedestrians and beachgoers about turtle nesting season.
Sea turtle population numbers have plummeted to dangerously low numbers throughout the past century due to human impacts, bringing many species close to extinction, causing them to be listed as critically endangered, according to the Nature Foundation of St. Maarten.
Port St. Maarten and WPS will do its part to create the necessary awareness in conjunction with Nature Foundation about the turtle nesting season which has started and runs for several months.
In order to reverse this trend, all sea turtle species are now protected by international laws and treaties as well as local laws. Based on ARTICLE 16 and 17 of the Nature Conservation Ordinance St. Maarten it is illegal to kill, wound, capture, pick-up, have animals that belong to a protected animal species, to directly or indirectly disturb their environment resulting in a physical threat or damage to the fauna or to commit other acts which result in disturbance of the animal.
It is also forbidden to upset an animal belonging to a protected species, to disturb, damage or destroy its nest, lair, or breeding place, as well as to take the nest of such an animal. Also, it is forbidden to pick-up or to destroy the eggs of animals belonging to a protected species, according to Nature Foundation.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana – This article provides an overview of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) in the Caribbean region to commemorate World Environment Day (WED) 2016, which is celebrated under the theme: “Go Wild for Life: Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife Trade.” It outlines the importance of the fisheries sector to the region, impacts and consequences of IUU fishing, with examples, and provides a brief on regional efforts to combat the illegal trade of fishery resources in the Caribbean.
To begin with, wildlife comes in various kinds belonging to different types of ecosystems. Fishery, which encompasses fin fish, crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic animals, is one type of wildlife resources that is harvested and traded illegally. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reports that IUU fishing is one of the major threats to the sustainability of the Caribbean’s fishery resources.
The FAO describes illegal (IUU) fishing, also commonly referred to as ‘poaching,’ as fishing conducted by national or foreign vessels in the water of a State without the state’s permission, or in contravention of the laws and regulations of that State, or to high seas fisheries regulated by regional organisations. More so, the FAO estimated that an average of 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish is caught through IUU fishing, which costs the industry between USD $10 to $23 billion dollars yearly.
Furthermore, the fisheries sector plays an important role in the support of social and economic development of the Caribbean, particularly, Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This sector supports livelihood and sustenance for the people of the region, contributing towards food security, poverty alleviation, employment, foreign exchange earnings, development, stability of rural and coastal communities and culture, recreation, and tourism. Yet, IUU fishing, predominately at the national level, remains as one of the major pressures which is undermining the sustainability of the Caribbean’s fisheries resources2.
The challenges of open access to fishery resources and poor fishery regulations are major contributing factors to the illegal exploitation of these resources in the Caribbean region. The open and unregulated access to fishery resources contributes to poachers believing that such a resource is limitless. Consequently, they take without considering the long-term negative effects that their use has on the sustainability of the resource, and subsequently, society at large. Poaching of fish stocks is also driven by the lack of firm regulations to guide the management of the fisheries sector, and enforcement of strict penalties against IUU fishing.
In 2013, the Bahamas indicated in a report on IUU fishing that as many as 65 fishing vessels, possibly operating from Dominican Republic ports were landing over 70,000 pounds of Bahamian conch, grouper and other fin fish per trip. The Turks and Caicos in 2012, reported that its queen conch fishery is threatened by large-scale poaching operations from its neighbour Hispaniola. Not so long ago in 2010, Honduran vessels were caught poaching queen conch in Jamaican waters.
The illicit extraction of fishery resources has combined local, national and regional implications on states of the Caribbean. It reduces the quantity and quality of the available catch for local fishers fishing legitimately. This may exacerbate food insecurity, losses of livelihood and even revenues from exports for local communities, and consequently, the State at large. More so, IUU fishing prevents governments across the region from achieving nationally and regionally agreed-upon fisheries management goals and objectives, and thus undermines the effective management and conservation of fish stocks.
The Caribbean is increasingly making a political commitment to tackle IUU fishing in the region. The adoption of the Castries Declaration (2010) on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is evidence of this. Furthermore, the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (2014) is also a binding treaty for the region to combat IUU fishing. The challenge, however, lies with the implementation and enforcement of these legal frameworks, and strong cooperation among Caribbean states to successfully mitigate IUU fishing. Otherwise, this downward spiral of resource exploitation will only increase further2.
In closing, IUU fishing being market-based, and driven by people’s demands for and purchasing of fishery products harvested illegally, could be alleviated by the market itself. Consumers, whether or not from the Caribbean, can in their efforts, increase their support of and demands for fishery products harvested in a sustainable and responsible manner. This reinforces WED 2016 theme as zero tolerance for the illegal wildlife trade via an informed market could cumulatively, increase pressure on Caribbean States to firmly enforce their commitments to combat IUU fishing.
VANCOUVER – The amount of fish caught in Turks and Caicos Islands waters from 1950-2012 is estimated to be 86 percent higher than previously thought, according to a new scientific study.
The study, published in the latest issue of Frontiers in Marine Science, says that conch, lobster, and fish catches have been underestimated historically because official figures have not always included seafood eaten by Turks and Caicos Islanders, and by tourists to the TCI.
“The Department of Environment and Marine Affairs (DEMA) has done a great job of monitoring fish sold to the country’s fish plants,” said Aylin Ulman, a researcher recently based at the world-renowned Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries in Vancouver, Canada. “However, it seems they have not always had enough staff to monitor seafood being sold or given to locals and tourists, whether that be at the dock, in shops, or in restaurants.”
Using recently developed mathematical models and newly collected data, Ulman’s research team have been able to project the most accurate estimates to-date of fish consumption by TCI residents and tourists. “The new numbers are worrying,” stated Edward Hind, another member of the research team. “It was already thought that catches of conch might be too high, and now we know they were even higher.” The research team concluded that conch and perhaps several other species are being over-consumed to a level where they will not be able to replenish themselves.
In addition, the study draws attention to the rising population of the TCI and the increasing numbers of visiting tourists. “The government wants population and tourism growth for the sake of the economy,” noted Hind. “That’s great, but they’re going to eat even more conch. It won’t be possible to catch more, or even as much as is being caught currently. Perhaps policy-makers can work with fishermen and fish plant owners to help them get more money for their conch catches within the TCI?”
While the results of the research may seem like bad news, the researchers are quick to emphasize that the new data may actually present an opportunity. Ulman added, “The staff at DEMA now have the knowledge to set catch limits that really will work. If the government supports the TCI’s fisheries scientists in collecting better catch data going forward, then the country can have healthy fisheries for decades to come.”
BELMOPAN, Belize – Officials from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United States have held talks on issues affecting trade between them.
A statement from the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) said that the major issued discussed during 7th Annual Meeting of the CARICOM-US Trade and Investment Council in Washington last week, is the threat of a lawsuit by US-based NGOs over the harvesting of queen conch for trade.
CRFM said the threat of the lawsuit is of great concern to the region, which exports an estimated US$185 million worth of conch meat annually to the US.
In February this year, WildEarth Guardians and Friends of Animals notified the US authorities of their intention to sue the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service / NOAA Fisheries, and their officers and directors over the government’s decision in 2014 not to list the queen conch as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The CRFM, which was represented at the meeting by its executive director, Milton Haughton, maintained that the petition is unjustified, as it is based on outdated and erroneous information.
A listing that the species is endangered would result in an outright ban, while a listing that it is threatened would lead to more stringent export regulations, among other measures.
The NGO, which wants to challenge the decision of the US federal authorities, is reputed to have a 77 per cent success rate in lawsuits against the US government.
In studying the impact of litigation by the NGO, US researchers, Dr. Ryan M. Yonk of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at the Southern Utah University and Dr. Randy T. Simmons of the Department of Economics and Finance at Utah State University, found that the litigation could jeopardize industries representing over US$3 billion in local economies.
However, US authorities have indicated that they will defend their position on the queen conch. CARICOM States will, meanwhile, be monitoring this situation closely.
At the Washington meeting, the parties also discussed US measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and their potential impact on our region.
A Presidential Task Force was established two years ago to develop recommendations for “a Comprehensive Framework to Combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud.”
CARICOM notes that the new measures being introduced to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud could have significant negative consequences for the export of fish and seafood from CARICOM to the US market, since importers in the USA would be required to implement administrative systems to certify that fish and fishery products entering the US market are not from IUU sources.
“However, the measures being implemented by the United States could also create opportunities for fish and fish products exported from the region, by reducing the occurrence of IUU fishing in our region by third States and unfair competition,” the CRFM said.
It said that at the recent meeting,” CARICOM officials laid out both their concerns and expectations to the US representatives, including the need for support for fish traders and government fisheries departments so that they could make the necessary reforms to comply with the new US requirements for international trade”.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Guyana police Saturday arrested five people allegedly involved in a pirate attack that left one man dead and three others missing at sea.
“During this morning, acting on information received, the police went to the No.65 Village Foreshore, Corentyne, where they saw a boat matching the description given. Five men who were aboard have been arrested and are in police custody assisting with the investigations,” the police said in a statement.
The authorities said that the attack occurred while the occupants of the boat were in the Lower Shell Area, Nickerie in Suriname.
The police said they have informed their Surinamese counterparts of the incident.
The dead person has been identified as Guyanese national, Hemchand Sukhdeo, 44, who was one of the four crew members of the boat which was being captained by Seepersaud Persaud.
Persaud is reported to have been thrown overboard by the five pirates who were armed with cutlasses. Police said Persaud was rescued by the crew of another fishing vessel and that the incident occurred late on Friday night.
They said the four crew members were aboard a boat in Surinamese territory when the pirates attacked, taking away two 48hp outboard motor engines, tied up the four crew members and threw Seepersaud Persaud overboard.
The area was searched but neither the vessel nor the other three crew members have been located.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - On Sunday, May 29th from 11am - 4pm, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club is hosting our annual TAG SALE with all proceeds benefiting our Youth Sailing Programs.
Come view and purchase vintage framed St. Maarten Heineken Regatta posters, Regatta binders and other Regatta goodies. SMYC polo shirts, hats artwork, burgees, flags, sailing gear, books, gifts and everything else we've been storing in the attic!
Items range from $1 - $100 in price. Special $1 items inside our little boat and a raffle for special edition St. Maarten Heineken Regatta prizes!
The Sint Maarten Yacht Club Bar & Restaurant is chiming in with $2.00 Heineken and $4.00 drink specials as well as 'happy hour' appetizer specials all day (full regular menu is also available.)
Come 'sail' through our Sint Maarten Yacht Club party!
Pembroke Pines, FL - Suppliers and travel agents will have a prime opportunity to increase their business with the cruise industry because some of the new features at the 23rd annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show.
Taking place in San Juan, Puerto Rico from September 26-30, the traditional series of one-on-one meetings, workshops and exhibiting and networking opportunities will be complemented by the Purchasing Initiative and an add-on travel agent event in partnership with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
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