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Marine resources are very important to the people of the Grenadine Islands. A greater understanding of the abundance & distribution of key marine resources, the number of resource users & their patterns of space-use is critical to planning the sustainable use & conservation of these resources. This research brings together a variety of social, economic and environmental information drawn from both scientific and local knowledge-bases into a single information system. Thus areas important for livelihoods and conservation can be better identified and used to assist decision-making & planning of sustainable development across the transboundary Grenadine island chain.

The Grenada Bank (includes GND and SVG) was chosen as a site to develop an integrated Marine Resource and Space-use Information System (MarSIS). Since 2006, this participatory geographic information system was created with a wide range of Grenadine stakeholders including: people who work in the sea (fishers, dive shops, day tours, watertaxis, yachts and ferries); marine management agencies (including the Fisheries, Planning, Tourism, Environment Departments) of both countries; community members; NGOs; academics (UWI, Vassar, Middlebury College) together with the Sustainable Grenadines, Inc. NGO in Union Island.

The Grenadines MarSIS was developed to provide people with information on the coastal/marine environment and its’ uses. This can be used to highlight important areas such as: critical fishery habitats; high biodiversity; important marine ecosystems(mangrove, seagrass & coral reefs); historical & cultural importance; areas important for tourism, fishing, shipping and recreation; as well as to identify areas of human threat & potential space-use conflict. The MarSIS & the creation of a marine space-use plan, not only assists with conservation & sustainable livelihoods, but supports the designation of the Grenadine Islands as a transboundary marine World Heritage Site.

www.grenadinesmarsis.com

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