ASSOCIATION OF CARIBBEAN STATES (ACS) - Pollution of the world’s oceans is globally recognized as one of our highest environmental concerns. The oceans are regarded as the transportation highways for shipping, tourism and commerce, and with this abundance of ships, there is a significant amount of ship-generated waste that needs disposal. International conventions guide both states and masters of vessels on handling ship generated wastes and, depending on the nature of the waste, these regulations determine whether it may be discharged into the ocean or disposed of on land once the ships come into port. Given the scope and intensity of shipping in the Greater Caribbean, as well as the sensitive nature the Caribbean Sea itself, ship-generated waste presents a significant threat to regions’ marine ecosystems. In light of this sensitivity and given that the region serves as a major hub for the global shipping industry, the capacity of ports or states to handle and dispose of ship-generated waste itself is a complex issue.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The St Maarten Nature Foundation initiated their shark tagging program as part of the DCNA Save Our Sharks project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.
This research is aimed to better understand the life characteristics of sharks in St Maarten waters including population structure, abundance and migration.
Jillian Morris and Duncan Brake from Sharks4kids assisted the Nature Foundation with building gear, catching, handling and tagging the sharks. The team successfully caught, tagged and released eight sharks in St Maarten waters in the last few weeks. .
The Nature Foundation tagged four Caribbean Reefs sharks (Carcharhinus perezii) and four tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier), with lengths varying from four to seven feet long. All sharks were measured, equipped with an identification tag and a DNA sample was taken without removing the shark from the water. All sharks were released in good health and hopefully will be identified on other locations in the near future.
In October of this year the Nature Foundation in collaboration with the Saba Conservation Foundation to continue the shark tagging project in the waters of St Maarten and on the Saba Bank.
“Because of books, movies and news reports sharks have gotten a bad reputation as mindless killers. This is very far from the truth. Although accidents do happen so do they with dogs for example, which kill about 100 times more people than sharks do a year. We have been working hard in terms of education, outreach and also science in this case to show the population that sharks are not mindless killers and are very important to the health of our oceans,” commented Tadzio Bervoets of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation.
Sharks play a very important role in the oceans, on the reefs and taking care of healthy fish stocks. Sharks are at the top of the food chain in virtually every part of every ocean, also on St Maarten. In that role, they keep populations of other fish healthy and in proper proportion for their ecosystem. Sharks are also very important to the tourism sector with many divers traveloing to Sint Maarten in order to dive with sharks.
PORT ST. MAARTEN – Representatives from Port St. Maarten attended recently the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) PAMAC meeting in New Orleans, which was a success for the destination.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Famous Dutch Comedian and Oceans Activist Jörgen Raymann recently closed off the Nature Foundation Shark Week, a week’s worth of activities centered on the conservation of sharks and the education on why they are important to the economy and ecosystem of St. Maarten.
The Nature Foundation St Maarten Shark Week was as part of the DCNA ‘Save our Shark’ project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery. The final activity was a so-called Shark Party at Buccaneer Beach Bar featuring children’s activities and quizzes centered on the conservation of sharks, some of the ocean’s more endangered animals.
Jörgen Raymann joined the party and spoke about the importance of sharks to the island and to a healthy ecosystem and that Sint Maarten should be proud to have a shark sanctuary. Shark experts Jillian Morris and Duncan Brake from ‘Sharks4kids’ also participated in Shark Week and gave a presentation about shark research and science last Wednesday.
The Nature Foundation thanks the community for their support, help and attendance regarding the conservation of sharks and their associated ecosystems and is looking forward to the next St Maarten Shark Week in 2017. For more pictures about the event look at the St Maarten Nature Foundation Facebook page.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The Princess Juliana International Airport, Customs Department and the Nature Foundation recently collaborated in the seizure and confiscation of some two hundred kilos worth of conch from outbound passengers.
PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Management welcomes the inauguration of the expanded section of the Panama Canal which took place on Sunday.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The frigate of the French Coast Guard yesterday June 28 observed a suspect vessel in the Atlantic Ocean, 600 miles northwest of St. Maarten. It was a yacht, the 'Gehe'die which sailed under the Dutch flag.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The St. Maarten Nature Foundation visited primary and secondary schools to educate students about the importance of sharks. Jillian Morris and Duncan Brake from Sharks4kids provided interesting presentations to many students of St. Maarten schools.
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