Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 30, 2018 (SKNIS): Over seventy-five (75) persons from the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis embarked on a Coral Reef Excursion Trip to Shitten’s Bay and White House Bay on the South East Peninsular on Saturday, July 28, as part of an awareness raising activity for the sustainable use of natural resources.
The tour, which was sponsored by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), allowed students, researchers, teachers and members of environmentally conscious groups and organizations to actively participate in the first ever activity of this nature.
“This coral reef excursion is part of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Project, called Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management (IWECO) in Caribbean Small Island Developing States,” explained Ilis Watts, National Coordinator of the GEF SGP in St. Kitts and Nevis. “The coral cruise excursion was preceded by two mandatory orientation sessions, one on Nevis and the other on St. Kitts. These sessions were aimed at providing persons with information on the work of the Small Grants Programme in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
She stated that one of the aims of the IWECO project was to continue to find ways to reduce the degradation of the natural environment on which we all rely for our very survival. Persons were exposed to a reef ecosystem that was in a near pristine state and one that has suffered negatively from man’s activities both on water and on land.
Current Director of Fisheries on Nevis, Mr. Lemuel Pemberton, and President of the Nevis Turtle Group explained that the reef area at Shitten’s Bay was one of the better ones that he had seen in quite some time. He explained that during snorkeling, he was able to observe different species of fish including the Stoplight Parrotfish; Blue Tang; Yellow Tail Snapper; Flounder; and Whispering Grunt among others.
“I found the reef to be in fairly healthy state and the abundance of the long-spined sea urchin, seen at the site, is an indication of this,” said Mr. Pemberton.
The excursion provided an avenue for first time snorkelers to explore the reefs. Many echoed their sentiments in being able to take part in the activity and described it an awesome experience. This activity under IWECO was preceded by an excursion into the Green Hill Water shed facilitated by the Water Department on Whit Monday. The other upcoming activity is a hike to Nevis peak in August, 2018.
Persons interested in finding out more about the Small Grants Programme can visit the global website www.sgp.undp.org<http://www.sgp.undp.org/> or can contact the local office on West Independence Square Street, Basseterre at 1-1-869-662-3135.