Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project

Ocean resources in the Caribbean have the potential to make a much greater contribution to poverty reduction and shared prosperity for the region’s growing population of 40 million than they do currently, and to increase the resilience of people to climate change. The Caribbean region has been at the forefront of a movement towards the development of the blue economy and is home to a growing number of developing states that share the Caribbean Sea and have embraced the concept as the centerpiece of future growth strategies. Given the value of the region’s marine space and its resources, with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, in partnership with the World Bank, is implementing the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP) to improve systems and put relevant structures in place in an effort to foster a Blue Economy and to promote greater consideration of the ecosystem functions and services, which the ocean provides for member states. Under this project, The Nature Conservancy is using the Mapping Ocean Wealth approach to develop ecosystem service models at the scale of the Eastern Caribbean in support of the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project.  We will refine and adapt existing coral reef tourism and fisheries models, while developing novel methodologies to characterize recreational fishing and cultural values in participating Eastern Caribbean countries (Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines). These data can be used to support these countries in ongoing and future marine spatial planning through the direct provision of spatially explicit information on their ecosystem service values, particularly relating to fisheries and nature-based tourism. This includes existing information, new information generated locally, and the provision of both tools and training to enable practical use and application of ecosystem services values into planning.

Image Credits:  Tim Calver (Banner); Top Row: Jeff Yonover, Marjo Aho, Tim Calver; Middle Row: Antonio Scant/UnSplash (Left), Alex Oathout/TNC Photo Contest 2019 (Middle); Bottom Row: Tim Calver (Left), Marjo Aho (Right)