June 8, 2021, is being observed as World Oceans Day under the theme ‘Life and Livelihoods.’
To mark the occasion, the OECS Commission will host a one-day virtual seminar on Mapping Ocean Wealth and Marine Spatial Planning. The seminar will discuss Ocean Mapping Data and Tools for improved decision-making in the Eastern Caribbean. The seminar, which will be hosted on the OECS Virtual Convention Centre starts at 9 a.m.
Under the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP), the OECS Commission is developing innovative tools that aggregate and analyze marine data for improved decision-making over ocean assets through the concept of Mapping Ocean Wealth (MOW).
During the seminar, stakeholders will get a better understanding of how these tools can be used. Key findings and outcomes of the CROP Mapping Ocean Wealth will be revealed and discussed. The work undertaken thus far includes the production of several maps downscaled to the country level, including maps on coral reefs for recreation and tourism; coral reefs for fisheries value; distribution and value of recreational fisheries; and nature dependent tourism.
Marine and coastal planners and data managers, along with representatives from various sectors including fisheries, environment, blue economy, green economy, as well as tourism stakeholders in the OECS, are expected to discuss the findings of this initiative and how the data collected can inform decision-making.
The virtual event will also include a session on the sharing of experiences in Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) among OECS Member States and other Small Island Developing States. Under the CROP, Coastal Master Plans and Marine Spatial Plans have been developed for Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. These plans were finalized and endorsed by lead ministries in these Member States in March of 2021. They set the stage for blue growth investments and offer a 15-year timeframe to support the transition to a Blue Economy through sustainable and equitable use of coastal and marine space, protecting coastal and marine ecosystems, and managing land-water interactions.
This seminar sets the stage for responsible and balanced exploitation of the resources of our oceans in a sustainable manner. A fundamental principle of Blue Economy investments and initiatives in the OECS is inclusion and equity, ensuring that as we move to undertake sustainable utilization of the resources and wealth of the ocean, traditional resource users and coastal communities are positioned to participate and benefit, in support of life and livelihoods.