[Coral-List] Coral-List Digest - Revitalization of the Caribbean GCRMN

Peter Edwards horlicks_1989 at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 29 21:24:12 EDT 2014

Hello All,

This is somewhat indirectly related to the recent (vibrant) thread on our collective "failure" to protect coral reefs, please see information below on effort to revitalize the Caribbean Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network
If any of you intend to be at the upcoming Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) Conference in Barbados (Nov 3-7, 2014) there are two presentations that will provide more details.
Please note that there are web links to referenced documents embedded in the text below
Peter EdwardsEconomist and Social Science CoordinatorNOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
One of the findings of the recently released Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) report on the status and trends of Caribbean coral reefs was that coral reef monitoring in the wider Caribbean is ''scattered, disorganized, and largely ineffective".  This key finding highlights the weaknesses and inefficiency of the current coral monitoring network, in part due to the lack of information dissemination and inconsistency in application of monitoring methods and approaches throughout the region. 
To address the urgent need for a more effective coral reef monitoring in the wider Caribbean region, a workshop was convened last summer to revitalize and coordinate coral reef monitoring across the region  (Curaçao , August 6th -8th 2014). Experts from different monitoring programs of the region came together to discuss how to better coordinate ongoing coral reef monitoring and stimulate and support monitoring in areas that lack the people or expertise for sustained monitoring efforts.
A set of guidelines were proposed for ecological and socioeconomic data collection, including a minimum set of core data that should be collected by all countries with coral reefs in the region and the standards which such data should comply with. The objective for these minimum requirements are to facilitate long term monitoring of Caribbean coral reefs region-wide comparable data that can be used to enhance current management and conservation efforts, specially related to Marine Protected Area (MPA) Networks. In this context, discussions were also held regarding the development a central database for the region that would allow easier input of collected data and that would facilitate reporting.

A new organizational structure for a revitalized and dynamic regional network of coral reef monitoring groups was proposed, with a core group (namely a Steering Committee) that will be responsible for a range of roles, including coordinating reports and publications, providing scientific & technical advice, or representing the network in regional and international fora.
To coordinate these efforts the UNEP-SPAW-RAC was designated as regional coordinator.
Restructuring the Caribbean monitoring network is a continuous  working process and the new system will be formalized through announcements and invitations to join over the coming months.

The report of the Curacao workshop, along with the outcomes and proposals for a revitalized monitoring network in the Caribbean region, can be downloaded on the SPAW RAC website "


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