Last week, Candice Brittain (Director of Outreach and Partnerships), Meagan Gary (CEI Scientist) and Eric Schneider (CEI Scientist) attended the 8 th Biennial Abaco Science Alliance Conference in Marsh Harbour, Abaco. Hosted by Friends of the Environment, the conference attracted researchers, government officials, local stakeholders and a range of other conservation-minded participants from across The Bahamas and abroad. The conference hosted great scientific presentations as well as important networking opportunities for collaborative work. Candice presented on the ongoing parrotfish project in partnership with ISER-Caribe.
The first year of the project focused on fisher and consumer perceptions of parrotfish with the goal of developing long-term education and management strategies in The Bahamas. This year a communication campaign will be launched sharing the important ecological role adult parrotfish play in the marine ecosystem as the most dominant algae grazers on the coral reefs, maintaining healthy habitat for other important animals like grouper and crawfish (spiny lobster).
Meagan spoke about the spatial variation in green sea turtle diet. This is a part of a larger study that is monitoring seasonal and spatial fluctuations in seagrass growth and distribution and its influence on green sea turtle diet. The inception of this project was due to social survey results showing that a large percentage of people living in Eleuthera believe that green sea turtles eat fish and conch. Understanding green sea turtle diet is integral as ecosystem management continues to develop in The Bahamas.
Eric presented the early findings of several projects looking into the sustainability of the emerging stone crab fishery in The Bahamas. As this new export fishery develops, it will be increasingly important to ensure the science and regulations behind it are adequate. The presentation lead to conversations with a local fisher/exporter and several fisheries officers and managers that all showed interest in the research and eagerness to support the work moving forward.