Park staff from throughout the Dutch Caribbean met for the second time at the end of March 2015 to continue discussions about the management and implementation of our “Save our Sharks” project.
Funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, this three year long project aims to safeguard sharks in the Dutch Caribbean through public support for shark conservation, a complete ban on commercial and targeted fishing and the creation of shark sanctuaries as safe havens for sharks.
Pew Trust shark expert, Angelo Villagomes, joined the workshop and contributed not only his wealth of expertise but mountains of shark materials including stickers, bands, posters, pins and books.
Park managers were joined by shark experts, Dr Irene Kingma and Dr. Paddy Walker of the Dutch Elasmobranch Society, the organisation which will be implementing an extensive communication and outreach campaign in the Netherlands for us.
Although the campaign will be run in the Netherlands, the focus of their work will be on sharks and shark conservation in the Dutch Caribbean.
Both Irene and Paddy have considerable experience implementing outreach in the Netherlands and are both scientists with a strong background in fisheries management and elasmobranch conservation. Dr Paddy Walker currently has two students on St Maarten working on Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) surveys.
Their participation aimed to build close co-operation across all elements of the project.
Netherlands Communication: it is essential that the communication and outreach activities in the Netherlands work in synergy with and compliment the conservation work on island. Round table discussions reviewed all elements of the communication campaign and identified the key elements.
Shark Conservation: on island shark consevation plans were discussed for the work with local decision makers, communities and fishermen.
Science: a key element of the project planning included discussions surrounding the science component of the project. The workshop agreed what questions research should address and critically evaluated all of the planned science elements of the project to ensure that they meet the project goals and objectives.
Project governance: discussion included governance structure, Prince2 project management, processes, procedures and the proposed creation of a Shark Committee to oversee project implementation.
Meeting notes [available soon]
Photo credit: Stan SHEA / BLOOM