The Environmental Awareness Group of Antigua & Barbuda
Raising awareness & promoting sustainable use of natural resources
Offshore Islands Conservation Programme (OICP)
The goal of the EAG’s Offshore Islands Conservation Programme is to conserve indigenous and globally significant populations of flora and fauna of the offshore islands of Antigua and Barbuda and to promote the sustainable use of resources found there.
Antigua and Barbuda’s offshore islands are a refuge for rare and globally important wildlife and habitats. Encompassing over 30 square miles of coastal and marine resources, this area is home to numerous endemic and globally threatened species, including the critically endangered Antiguan Racer Snake (Alsophis antiguae) the Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), and the vulnerable West Indian Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arborea). Offshore islands along the northeast coast are considered to be the last retreat for some species that formerly existed in abundance on mainland Antigua and Barbuda. In addition two of the five threatened vegetation types found in Antigua and Barbuda are found exclusively on the offshore islands.
From an ecological perspective, the offshore islands offer a living laboratory, serving as indicators to allow for the measurement of changes that have affected local conditions and the rest of the Caribbean over time. Economically speaking, and provided that sustainable use is practiced, the area’s resources can provide a viable source of income for the local fishery and tourism sectors, as well as a haven for local recreationalists.
The programme has applied an integrated approach to build upon management-oriented biological research to embrace skills transfer, ecological restoration, conservation breeding, habitat management, and environmental education.
There are some great photos and background to the project which preceded OICP here.
The very successful project’s main aim was to conserve the critically endangered Antiguan Racer Snake.
The Offshore Islands Conservation Programme is a partnership between the EAG, Fauna and Flora International, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Black Hills State University, the Island Resources Foundation and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.
14 October 2009 was the official launch of NEMMA (North East Marine Management Area) Protected Area. This is funded by the OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods Project (OPAAL). NEMMA stretches from Beggar's Point off Prickly Pear Island in the North all the way up to Frier's Head at Mill Reef in the East. OICP and NEMMA clearly need to work together. The OECS Report can be downloaded here. A lively discussion about NEMMA is on Eli Fullers Blog on this topic.
The EAG runs a very successful “Floating Classroom” for students, as part of the OICP. Read more about this exciting initiative here
EAG and its partners thank the following for their generous support of this programme: the BBC Wildlife Fund, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.