Sandals, UWI partner on parrotfish research

The Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart-owned Sandals Resorts International and The University of the West Indies’ (UWI) have entered into a partnership agreement which is expected to produce “convincing data” to support calls for parrotfish management systems in the island. Headed by marine biologist Dr Dayne Buddo, a four-man team from UWI’s Centre for Marine Sciences has already done two preliminary dives in the Negril and Whitehouse regions.

Commenting on the purpose of those early dives, and the plans for the initial stages of the research, Dr Buddo said:

“We will be doing the first stage of research which will involve scoping the sites that will become our permanent study sites. These will be the sites where we will deploy our unmanned cameras, and also carry our parrotfish in-water surveys and reef assessments. We will also survey the sites for parrotfish species of interest. We will be marking these sites with a GPS once we find suitable reefs during our dives.”

The resort said the partnership, officially called the Parrotfish Research Project, forms a core aspect of its Save the Parrotfish, Save Our Islands campaign and “will see both organisations working closely over the next 18 months to gather convincing data to support official calls for the introduction of parrotfish management systems”.

Sandals is providing funding for the project and through its PADI-certified dive centres at all its resorts, will also facilitate the team’s dives. For its part, UWI will conduct islandwide in-water surveys to retrieve information on the diversity, density, abundance and biomass of the parrotfish species. The team will also visit fishing beaches to study the characteristics of the parrotfish being caught and will also conduct a socio-economic assessment for fishing communities, many of which depend on the parrotfish to sustain their livelihoods.

The agreement also includes a community intervention and public education aspects, through collaboration with private and public sector entities including the Fisheries Division of the Agriculture Ministry and the National Environment and Planning Agency, hotel staff said. Read more

Source: Jamaica Observer