Community meeting with stakeholders and NGOSusGren
I wanted to share with you some exciting developments regarding Caribbean seabird conservation.
In the first study of its kind, stakeholders such as fishermen were surveyed about their economic and environmental connection with seabirds. Here are some of the surprising findings:
- Over half (67%) reported eating seabird eggs
- Almost half (47%) reported eating seabird chicks or adults.
- Seabird harvest was not very important for making a living for most people, with few describing the practice as "somewhat important" (10%) or very important (4%).
- Most people collect less than 100 eggs per year but some collect over 500.
Okay, so what do all these numbers mean? Well, even though seabirds and their eggs are a popular dish, people are generally not relying on seabird harvests for their livelihoods. Since there isn't a major financial incentive to keep harvesting seabirds, communities can be involved in conserving seabirds without losing income. And many fishermen reported that seabirds help them to find fish, so there is incentive to have more of the birds around as "fish finders".
In fact, at meetings where the research results were reported back to the community, it was clear that many individuals want to be involved in seabird conservation. This was great news for our volunteer warden program, which will be starting in April.
In April we will also begin surveys for rats on some of the most important seabird nesting islands. And once the birds show up in force in May, we will be studying how successful their nests are and figure out if the population can handle the impacts of harvesting and/or rats and other predators.
We look forward to sharing the results of this work with you and thank you for making all of this possible! We still have a little ways to go in reaching our financial goal for the coming field season and welcome your contribution.