Scientific Assessment of Curaçao’s near shore waters to begin next week
WASHINGTON, DC., WILLEMSTAD (Waitt Institute) – In joint partnership with the Government of Curaçao and Carmabi, the Waitt Institute will lead an expedition to investigate the status of marine resources in Curaçao’s coastal habitats. This scientific assessment is a critical step in the work of Blue Halo Curaçao, which was launched in February when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Government of Curaçao and the Waitt Institute.
The goal of Blue Halo Curaçao is to envision, create, and implement comprehensive sustainable ocean policies. Work toward achieving this goal is based on a foundation of science and input from the community. No new ocean policies have yet been drafted – there is a blank slate – so this data that will be collected on Curaçao’s corals, fish, and other species will be useful to the Government for considering what new ocean management measures might be appropriate and effective.
“We look forward to this assessment and its results, which for sure will produce some historical data, in particular in regards to the practically unexplored windward side of the island. The results will undoubtedly contribute to the formulation of the ocean policy plan and act as a baseline for sound ocean management,” wrote Ms. Geraldine Christina, Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Environment, and Nature, in a letter endorsing the research.
The assessment will use the Waitt research vessel, and will incorporate the use of its two tenders as well as one local vessel to conduct SCUBA-based research. Research will be conducted by 12 visiting expert Caribbean marine biologists, in collaboration with scientists from Carmabi, and several local divers.
The research team will visit approximately 150 sites in the waters around Curaçao. At each site, data will be collected on corals, algae, fish, invertebrates, and water quality. All data collected during the Scientific Assessment will be provided to the Government of Curaçao. The data collected will be analyzed and compiled into a scientific report that will be released in early 2016.
Some of the participating scientists will also visit local schools to talk about marine biology in general and what’s happening during the scientific assessment in particular.