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The Environmental Awareness Group of Antigua & Barbuda

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Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Area Network

EAG launches marine project in Antigua

Location: The North East Marine Management Area (NEMMA), Antigua

About this Project: The project is part of a regional programme, ‘Climate Resilient Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network' (ECMMAN), which aims to improve management capacity within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) for existing marine managed areas (MMAs) and to support the establishment of new MMAs. The implementation of this project in Antigua and Barbuda is a collaborative effort between the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, through the Fisheries Division and the Environment Division. The first phase of this four-year project will run until mid-2016. Other countries participating in the regional programme are: Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Marine Managed Areas, also known as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), come in different shapes and forms, but are generally multi-use areas that strive to balance human exploitation and ecological needs, to keep systems healthy and productive. The design and management of MMAs takes all of these elements into account, including social, biological (plants and animals) and physical (water and land) functions. A MMA is one tool that is used to reduce negative impacts to the marine environment that result from human actions, such as pollution, unsustainable fishing methods, and excessive coastal development.

The NEMMA, designated in 2005, is Antigua and Barbuda's largest marine managed area. A management plan was drafted in 2007; however there has been limited implementation due to a lack of financial and human resources. The ECMMAN project aims to help implement NEMMA’s management plan, with stakeholder input at the core of the project.

The project also includes data collection as a prime objective. There has been much work done in the past by various collaborations among local, regional and international groups. This project complements 19 years of the EAG’s work with the Offshore Islands Conservation Programme. Building on information already gathered, the project will identify and address critical information gaps. Other activities include educational tours, ecological surveys and training courses.

The area is important in so many ways to so many people – from recreation, fishing, tourism, industrial production – and all this is supported by fragile natural resources. To be effective in our management, we must understand, appreciate, and accommodate these complex interactions.

Funding for this project is provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), as part f the International Climate Initiative (ICI).

The project is piloted by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and administered by the UNEP-CEP (United Nations Environment Programme - Caribbean Environment Programme) Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Program through its Regional Activity Center (SPAW-RAC) and CaMPAM.