Guyana and neighbouring Suriname will be setting aside 10 percent of their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), which will become Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2020.
This initiative is in keeping with a project between World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the European Union (EU) which was launched on January 24 this year.
The project entitled: “Promoting Integrated and Participatory Ocean Governance in Guyana and Suriname: the Eastern Gate to the Caribbean”, is expected to significantly enhance protection of marine and coastal resources of Guyana and Suriname, through the designation of MPAs and informed marine spatial management.
The EU has allocated 1.25 million Euros for the project and will be executed by WWF in collaboration with the Protected Areas Commission of Guyana and the Nature Conservation Service of the Suriname Government.
It is envisaged that increased marine protection and strengthened governance will safeguard biodiversity and enhance food security, protect livelihoods, increase resilience and support socio-economic development in these countries.
The first signing ceremony took place in Paramaribo, Suriname, some days ago where the Regional representative of WWF Guianas, Laurens Gomes, and the EU Ambassador, Jernej Videtiè, were engaged in the official launch of the project. The second signing took place in Georgetown yesterday, initiating the project here also.
According to the WWF Website, the area where the project will take place, supports important fisheries, major nursery grounds, spawning grounds and a rich diversity of marine species and is of both regional and global significance.
“While key threats are recognised (overfishing of some species; increased hydrocarbon exploration) there are significant data gaps which hamper efforts to sustainably manage the marine environment.”
Overall, the project will fill critical information gaps by developing comprehensive and visually appealing spatial data, enabling informed decision-making regarding marine protection and management.
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