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NAGICO donates Hand Sanitizing, Temperature Check stations and school supplies TO Public Schools

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In preparation for the reopening of Schools to in class instructions, NAGICO Insurances has donated automated hand sanitizing and temperature check stations to all seven (7) Public Schools and school supplies for the students.

This donation is a result of a partnership formed between NAGICO, the Ministry of Education, Sports & Culture to fully outfit the Public Schools with the necessary safety equipment and items needed to allow for proper sanitization, health and safety measures in school.

“With our schools physical reopening in the next week and the Coronavirus pandemic still prevalent, we at NAGICO felt it necessary and prudent to partner with the Department of Public Schools to help to provide a safe environment for our children and teachers as they venture back into the classrooms,” Eric Ellis, Managing Director and Head of NAGICO St. Maarten said. “The Inspectorate of Schools have set certain health and safety criteria, which each school must meet before being permitted to reopen, so it was based on those guidelines, that the collaboration was formed. NAGICO has installed a sanitization and temperature check station in all Public Schools and have committed to provide maintenance for these machines and hand sanitizer refills from the moment school reopens until the end of this year. In addition, we have provided over 500 swag bags with school supplies for the students as a little welcome back gift.”

The temperature check and sanitization stations are all automated non-touch systems, which displays hands-free temperature readings, as well as hands-free sanitizing dispenser. These machines will be placed at the security entrance of each Public School and will be able to detect anyone who has a fever before entering the premises and to encourage sanitizing at the same time.

The machines were officially presented to the Minister of Education Drs. Rodolphe Samuel and Acting Head of the Division for Educational Innovation, Mrs. Oralie Boirard who thanked NAGICO for this generous donation which they believe will extremely crucial part of their safety protocols for schools.

“After a prolonged closure of schools all over the world because of the epidemic, we as a Ministry together with our School Boards and other stakeholders have had to create protocols to safely reopen schools while taking measures to limit the spread of the virus,” Drs. Samuel said. “These measures have proven to be costly, especially considering the financial climate we as a country and individuals are going through and because of that we are very grateful to NAGICO for stepping up in such a big way and for taking their corporate social responsibility seriously.”

Drs. Samuel further explained that some of the safety and hygiene protocols being adopted includes: physical distancing measures inside and outside of the classrooms, the staggering of class schedules and recess periods, providing handwashing stations, the wearing of masks, regular handwashing, discouraging unnecessary touching and ensuring that sick students, teachers and auxiliary staff stay at home.

A range of sanitization and disinfection measures have been carried out at the schools and daily disinfection and cleaning of surfaces have been arranged. In class instruction resumes on October 19 in phases.

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Inspections reveal drums and car tires top source for mosquito breeding sites. One in four households have mosquito larvae

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Mosquito control is considered an essential health service, and the Collective Prevention Service’s (CPS) Vector Control Team was out surveying areas while adhering to current social distancing and safety guidance protocols.

The Vector Control Team will commence with district area assessment starting in the week of October 12 in the following areas: Philipsburg, Over the Bank, Point Blanche, Oyster Pond, and Guana Bay.

Recently the CPS Vector Control Team finished the first round of inspection. In total, the team inspected 933 premises, of which 235 houses were breeding mosquito, meaning that one in every four houses was found positive with mosquito larvae.

Of the 2005 wet containers inspected, 582 were found positive.

Among the most common breeding sites during this round of inspection are drums, tires, water tanks, and artificial containers used by families and individuals.

These artificial containers such as Styrofoam cups, food-boxes, plastic bins, flowerpot saucers, etc. can hold water and were found lying around in the tenant's yards.

In all the potential breeding sites, the drums and tires came out as the most common (preferred) among all the wet containers with 52% and 30% successively.

Residents are requested to cooperate with the Vector Control Team to remedy any issues that may arise and are requested to conduct a general cleanup of their premises.

CPS Vector Control Team expressed the need to motivate the public to dispose of any bulky waste, which includes fridges, stoves, furniture, tires, containers because these items can provide potential breeding grounds for mosquitos.

Source reduction is the key to decreasing the mosquito population. Due to the tropical nature of our climate, breeding habitats are in abundance, and many of them are unfortunately man-made.

A bite by an infectious Aedes aegypti mosquito, spreads diseases – Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, and Malaria -, and therefore it is crucial for every household to prevent its breeding.

Every household must do its part to eliminate Aedes aegypti mosquito breeding sites.

Once again, it is very important to check around your yard to make sure there is no standing water and especially after a rainfall event.

Please also note that you can contact the vector team at (721) 542- 1122 / (721) 542- 1222 / (721) 542- 1322 / (721) 542- 1540 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with supporting pictures to report a mosquito nuisance or request assistance.

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Minister Panneflek: Your Mental Health matters

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - World Mental Health Day is internationally recognized on October 10th of each year. Many people underestimate the severity of mental health issues, until they have been directly impacted by a tragedy.

According to the World Health Organization, close to 1 billion people are living with a mental disorder.1

Through research it is becoming more evident that mental illness is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors in a person’s day to day life. It affects how we think, how we feel, and how we act through all stages of our lives.

World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for the world to come together and begin redressing the historic neglect of mental health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.2

Lives have changed tremendously this year, given the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. It is clear that we are all worried, stressed, and anxious about the present and the future as we do not know what is next. As we continue to live through a global pandemic, it is important that we look after our mental health.

Promote a positive and proactive approach to addressing mental health when talking to other’s. Take time to ask friends, family or co-workers, how they are doing, and listen to their answers for any signs or symptoms of considering self-harm. If you suffer from mental illness, open up and share your story, this may the “push” that another person needs to go out and seek help. Invest in “me time”, to unwind and relax.

If you or someone you know are suffering from mental issues, do not shy away from seeking help. Taking care of your mental health is crucial to overcoming the situation.

Minister Panneflek would like to thank all the professionals in the field currently contributing their time and effort to helping those with a mental health issue stronger. He reassures the general public that the Government is continuously working towards strengthening the current services and facilities on Sint Maarten for Mental Health.

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WICSU-PSU CONSTITUON DAY REFLECTION – ARE THE WORKERS BETTER OFF TODAY THAN TEN YEARS AGO?

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The labor Union WICSU -PSU is reflecting back on the last 10 years of St. Maarten being a “Country”, the union stated in a media statement on Friday.

The question that comes to mind is What do we have to look back on?

Ten years in a change of status from the former Netherlands Antilles to Country status, what are the highlights of this era especially for the working class of this Country during this new status?

As union we are disappointed that the report when it comes to the worker is not one of change, but one of hardship and in some cases poverty. The plight of the worker got even more difficult and less attention was/is being paid to the needs of the workers.

Ten years of numerous governments, some were repetitive, and all the workers and the unions got were empty promises. The workers became important during campaign season after that the promises made and the issues campaigned on were forgotten. When the Unions would remind them of their unjust ways of dealing with the workers it would become an attack on the Unions. The workers would be told that the unions are not acting in good faith.

Payment of the Cost of living Adjustment (COLA) has been a constant narrative of the union, yet it falls on deaf ears. There are never funds to pay the COLA, but we are constantly going to the polls. To pay for an election, cost way more than the total cost of the payout of the COLA. Shall we remind the decision makers that approach these same workers for their vote that they are still waiting for the payment of the COLA? Was the Cessantia every addressed in all these years?

The finalization of the function books for the Justice Ministry is still an ongoing battle. Many Ministers have played with the emotion of the same workers that protect and serve this country, promises were made, half truths were executed under the guise of campaign rhetoric. Ministers, not communicating with the unions that represent these workers and making decisions that are not in the best interest of the Justice worker, and when the union speak up, they are not acting in good faith. There is a saying that goes why reinvent the wheel when it is already spinning. The justice workers could have long been placed in their proper functions and salary scale if the decision makers would only dialogue with the unions as we have been there from day one. How many more is going to come and want to do things their way instead of just finalizing what is already in place.

How many slogans have we not heard about getting rid of the six-month contract in the private sector, ten years later and it is still there. There were many campaign promises that this was going to be dealt with. What about the minimum wage? When are we going to have a living wage? I would like to look ask our leaders to exchange their salary for just one month with one of our private sector workers and see how they survive.

The price to survive as a worker is very high in what we call the friendly island St. Maarten, Workers cannot afford to feed their family a healthy meal as the prices in the supermarkets are so high and the wages does not change.

When government was asked to increase their basket of goods to include cost cutting measures in the areas of telephone, food, utilities etc. their response was it is in our governing plan. Where and at what time it will be implemented might be on the second anniversary of the change in country status.

The union has not seen one labor law changed in the benefit of the worker. The worker is always the sacrificial lamb. We have seen the pension age increase twice with the possibility of a third increase. Where are the benefit for the worker while all they hear fancy words like resilient and hard working and survivors. It is expected for the worker to be all of the above with the unjust hand that is being dealt to them.

The union is once again asking what is there to celebrate? Take those finances and give it to the workers plant a tree of appreciation in the mind and pockets of the workers.

The union is once again this time publicly asking the decision makers to give the working class a reason to celebrate by at the least setting the following into motion:

  • Implement a living wage. (use the amount paid on the French Side as an example)
  • Abolish the six-month contract.
  • Index the wages; Pay the COLA that is owed
  • Adjust the workers salary yearly with the cost of living adjustment
  • Implement Price controls on basic goods in the supermarkets
  • Control the cost of Electricity

Give the working class a reason to celebrate.

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Victorious Living Leadership Summit 2020: Meeting Needs & Providing Solutions

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - As individuals, communities and nations grapple with the challenges of our times, Victorious Living will be presenting solutions this week-end at VLF’s Leadership Summit.

This is the eighth year that Victorious Living is hosting Leadercast, designed to create leaders who are worth following; and the third year of VLF Leadership Summit which comprises Leadercast on October 9th with speakers such as basketball legend and philanthropist, Magic Johnson; psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud, leadership expert, Andy Stanley and many more.

An equally impressive lineup of local, regional and international speakers will grace the virtual stage on October 10th by helping attendees to emerge stronger and more resilient than before.

Attendees will be empowered and enlightened by transformational content and electrifying speakers including:

  • H.E. Dr. Andre Thomas who’ll be “Providing Solutions From the Church to nations during this global pandemic.”
  • Chinwe Esimai, Managing Director, Chief Anti-Bribery Officer of Citigroup and an award-winning lawyer sharing on “Purpose as Revolution: How to use pain as leverage.”
  • John Beiter, with over 30 years of business experience in both the corporate and clinical/health care environments will share “Six universal laws to change your life.”
  • Sheeba Forbes, Certified Executive life coach, shares on “Personal Transformation through positive disruption”
  • St. Maarten’s own, Denicio Wyatte, Director of Spaceless Gardens will share on “Agriculture - The pillar of life” and “The importance of agriculture and economics.”
  • Johannes Fisslinger Founder, Lifestyle Prescriptions® Medicine University & author of The 6 Root Causes of All Symptoms will share “How to Resolve 80% of Chronic Health Issues with Lifestyle Medicine.”
  • Janelle Chase-Mayers, MA, Creative and Systemic Therapist & master facilitator will share “Mental, Physical & Spiritual Self-care Strategies.”
  • Dawn Hunter, Doctor of chiropractic, Master esthetician, Permanent cosmetics master artist and global trainer shares how to “Create a Business in 90 days- through a “Million Dollar Sticky Note” system.
  • Rose-Anne Sagnia, Graphic Designer and visionary of the Artist House on St. Maarten will help us “To Dream Again.”
  • Tasheena Maccow Thomas Founder of Teezan Health & Wellness Center on

St. Maarten will share “How to Live & Maintain a Healthier Lifestyle Naturally.”

  • Dorothy Richardson, an educator of 50 years, with a background and degrees in geriatric nursing and business management, will share “How to Positively Disrupt our Education System.”
  • The Honourable Dee-Ann Kentish- Rogers, Minister of Education and Social Development of Anguilla, will address “Positively Disrupting Politics” as we know it.
  • David Campbell, a Life Purpose and Relationship Master Coach who specializes in men's issues will share on “Understanding the importance of Kingship & Legacy.”
  • Sarian Bouma, an accomplished successful businesswoman of an award winning multi Million Dollar corporation in the USA will focus on “Economic recovery: After the global pandemic. Few businesses you can start with little or no money!”

The Registration deadline is October 8th for Day 1 and October 9th for Day 2. To register, call 1-721-524-8731 or visit https://www.victoriouslivingfoundation.com/441333998.

vlf David Campbell

David Campbell

vlf Janelle Mayers

Janelle Mayers

vlf Sheeba Forbes new pic

Sheeba Forbes

 

VLF Leadercast 2020 Final2

 

 

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‘SafeSeal’ – Clean Standard Certification Program launched by SHTA, Medwork and STB

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB), St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA), and occupational health expert company Medwork are pleased to announce the launch of their newest collaboration, “SAFESEAL – Clean Standard Seal Certification Program”. The program has been endorsed by the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA), and the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication (TEATT).

SafeSeal will become the immediately recognizable emblem for companies that are verified for their adherence to strict cleanliness and hygiene guidelines to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SafeSeal has been devised by medical and occupational safety professionals. The methods and practices have already been used to grant acknowledgment of the best COVID-19 prevention practices to 1700 companies in the Caribbean wide. For St. Maarten, the checklists per sector have been validated to align with and support, among others, the official St. Maarten government health and safety protocols and guidelines.

Specialized checklists have been devised for lodging, restaurants, casinos, transportation services, and various other lines of business in the hospitality industry. Obtaining the Seal is voluntary. The SafeSeal serves as a visual recognition of the company’s commitment to the health and safety of its customers and employees and it will be used for digital promotions by St. Maarten Tourism Board and the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association.

By highlighting best-practice companies, the organizations wish to spread the word that St. Maarten is making its best effort to be a safe destination. The seal acknowledges a high set of operational standards according to international and local guidelines; a 100% guarantee of prevention is not achievable, but this highlights a certain level of assurance that the entity has been adhering to the safety guidelines and standards. The acquisition of the “SafeSeal” is also a powerful marketing tool for the participating businesses and promotes a safe and healthy image of St. Maarten as a trusted tourist destination in the Caribbean.

Gold Standard

 

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Dutch Ministry BZK extends funding for COME Center COVID-19 Relief Program

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - As part of the collaborated COVID-19 Relief Program sponsored by Netherland's Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), the COME Center in Philipsburg has been providing hot meals to some of the most vulnerable members of the community of St. Maarten.

These members, which includes seniors, persons with a low income, and persons without fixed housing are provided with a hot breakfast and lunch six days per week. The program also provides temporary job opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed by employing 13 staff members to execute the program.

COME center is one of the implementing partners working closely with the Netherlands Red Cross and the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF), who are the coordinating partners in this project. There are other implementing partners, also assisting these vulnerable groups with different modalities under the same program, including K1 DIRECT, Captain's Rib Shack, Freegan Food Foundation, and St. Maarten Red Cross. Together, the program partners have committed to assisting some 12,800 persons across St. Maarten.

COME center is a non-profit religious civil society foundation developed by Thy Kingdom Come Ministries. It has served the community of St. Maarten with an Adult Literacy Program, a Senior Citizens in Action Program, and a Soup Kitchen five days per week.

The center also makes counseling available whenever the need arises and holds a Sewing Program various times in the year. This COVID-19 Relief Program Feeding Program is in line with the foundation's overall goals in serving the community of St. Maarten. The program ran from July 2020 until October 2020 and has now been extended by BZK until the end of the year.

COME2

 

 

 

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Protecting Saba Bank’s Red Hind and Queen Triggerfish Populations

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - Wageningen Marine Research and the Saba Bank Management Unit (SMBU) recently published an evaluation of the effectiveness of the seasonal fishing bans within Moonfish Bank based on the first five years of fish catch data. These closures were intended to help Red Hind and Queen Triggerfish populations, both of which use this area for mating. Similar closures have been credited with improving reef populations and could be the key to protecting these species in the future.

Each year, many species of fish migrate to specific areas to spawn. These areas are known as spawning aggregation (SPAG) sites. Such sites are often vulnerable to overfishing since spawning events occur at predictable times and locations each year. In fact, in the Caribbean, there are over 100 known SPAG sites, most of which are unprotected and most of which have been overfished. For most of these sites, little is known about them, and scientists must rely on knowledge of local fishermen.

One such site is located within the Moonfish Bank of Saba Bank. This area is a known spawning aggregation area for the Red Hind (Epinephelus guttatus) and the Queen Triggerfish (Balistes vetula). In 2013, in an effort to protect these species, the Saban government issued a 5-year moratorium on fishing within Moonfish Bank between the months of December and February. This closure was based on local fishermen’s general knowledge and research done by Nemeth et al. of when Red Hinds tend to aggregate within this area.

Red Hind and Queen Triggerfish

Although fishermen are not often targeting either of these fish, they do represent two of the three most commonly caught bycatch species in both redfish (deep-water snapper) and lobster traps. Red Hinds are reef fish known to travel along predictable migration routes and can therefore influence a variety of different areas. Within the Western Atlantic, recent studies all indicate an overall decline in Red Hind populations which has led to an increase in fishing regulations for this species around Bermuda, the US Caribbean and Mexico and a complete ban within US waters.

The Queen Triggerfish is also a reef fish which can be found throughout the Atlantic from Canada to the south-eastern coast of Brazil. This species exhibits a rather unique mating strategy, where the male will establish and defend a nesting area and wait for a female to approach. This species too has dramatically declined in abundance over the last decades in many areas such as on the reefs of Curacao and Bonaire.

The Study

Funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Wageningen Marine Research collaborated with the SMBU to conduct a study to provide a preliminary evaluation for the effectiveness of these seasonal closures. The main data source were catch records and length measurements of fish brought back to port by fishermen. Between the years of 2012 and 2018, researchers looked for annual differences in the number of Landings Per Trip (LPT, the number of fish brought back after each fishing trip) and the number of fish caught as bycatch in both shallow lobster traps and deeper snapper traps.

The Results

In the end, there was no indication that overall LPT or mean size caught in either of the two traps improved over the course of the study. In fact, results showed a small but significant decrease in the size of Red Hinds caught as bycatch in the lobster traps. It was thought that by limiting the number of fish caught, average size should increase as more fish are able to reach maturity. For fish, fertility increases exponentially with size, so this decrease in the average size of fish could dramatically impact future fish populations.

No expected improvement in the Red Hind population was apparent from the results. However, the study did bring to light some questions regarding the current fishing regulations. It is quite possible that the protected area was not large enough to fully protect the Moonfish Bank SPAG. It may also be that there are additional SPAGs on the Bank that also require protection.

Additional research will need to be conducted to better characterize the local fish spawning areas to better protect them in the future. One significant issue highlighted was the actual lack of good data documenting the exact timing and location of the spawning and aggregation season for these species on Saba Bank.

Although local fishermen were able to provide historical insight, being able to quantify these events through scientific surveys would help policy makers draft more effective management plans and make sure the closed season is set for the same period as in which spawning aggregation takes place. It is highly likely that there are additional SPAGs located around Saba and Saba Bank which will need to be protected as well, but these remain undocumented. A local story, from February 2015, recalls a single fishing boat returning to port with 313 Red Hinds caught in a single day using 12 traps and a hand line. It is likely this fisherman stumbled upon an additional unprotected SPAG.

Importance of SPAGs

There are a variety of examples of the benefits of protecting SPAGs within the Caribbean. In 1987, the island of St. Thomas enacted a 12-year seasonal closure to protect their Red Hind fisheries. Afterwards, a permanent fishing closure was enacted and after five years they found that the average male Red Hind total length increased by 7cm.

There is no question that an effective and sustainable fishery management plan will require protection for important SPAGs. Even though this study was unable to demonstrate an immediate improvement in fish population or size, continuation of these seasonal closures is highly recommended. In the future, more intensive and consistent data collection is needed be completed to better understand these local fish populations.

Perhaps a Bank-wide seasonal closure for these fish could be a more effective way of protecting this fishery. This would simplify local enforcement and would have limited economic effect as these fish are not important targeted species for local fishermen. Other limitations, such as enacting annual quotas, size limits or gear restrictions, could further protect these, and other commercially important fisheries in the area.

Redhind HansLeijnse

Red Hind (Epinephelus guttatus). Credit: Hans Leijnse- all rights reserved

 

 

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Assisted natural recovery of sea urchin populations around Saba and St. Eustatius

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - Diadema sea-urchins play a vital role in maintaining a balanced coral reef ecosystem by grazing away algae and creating bare substrate for coral recruitment. The RAAK PRO Diadema project aims to develop interventions to improve larval recruitment and juvenile survival to increase local Diadema populations. To do this, researchers are investigating the larval and settlement stage of Diadema populations around the islands of Saba and St. Eustatius. First results show that some locations have a high suitability for “assisted natural recovery”.

In 1983, unbeknownst to everyone, the Caribbean seascape was about to drastically change. Starting off the coast of Panama, a new disease began to spread, following water currents, decimating Caribbean sea urchin populations. Within a few years, 98% of the long spined sea urchin (Diadema antillarum) populations had been completely wiped out. Now, 37 years later, these populations have only recovered at an average of 12% Caribbean wide. Why have these populations been so slow to recover? Is there anything scientists can do to help this recovery along?

RAAK PRO Diadema Project

The RAAK PRO Diadema project hopes to answer these questions and provide innovative solutions to give the urchin populations around Saba and St. Eustatius a boost. The project is a collaborative effort between University of Applied Sciences Van Hall Larenstein, STENAPA, Saba Conservation Foundation, Wageningen Marine Research, Wageningen University, Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute, University of Applied Sciences HZ, ISER Caribe, Wortel Product Design and Golden Rock Dive Center. The project is partially funded by the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and will run through 2023.

Importance of Diadema sea urchins

Diadema are important herbivores on Caribbean coral reefs. Without them, macro algae can quickly flourish, smothering corals and preventing future coral recruitment. Globally, corals are already under immense pressures due to changing water conditions, so anything that can be done to improve their overall health is bound to make a significant difference.

It is still unclear why Diadema populations have struggled to recover, although evidence suggests that it is likely due to a combination of low settlement and high predation rates of juveniles. Diadema go through a larval phase, where they free float in the water for around 30 days. As tiny larvae, they float along ocean currents before they eventually settle on the reef where they will go through metamorphosis, becoming the sea urchins we recognize. The RAAK PRO Diadema project aims to develop interventions with the purpose to maximizing settlement of larvae and survival of juveniles.

Lab and field approach

In the VHL marine lab in Leeuwarden, adult Diadema are induced to spawn and fertilized eggs are collected by the researchers. During the first two rounds of egg collection (from May 6th and 27th), researchers were able to collect 10,000 and 40,000 eggs respectively. Researchers continue to improve collection methods and an impressive 6 million eggs were collected on June 16th. Excitingly, the eggs from the first two rounds have already begun to settle and go through metamorphosis, growing to very tiny sea urchins, about 1 millimeter in size. Diadema are famous for being difficult to culture, so this is the first big accomplishment of the project. As adult Diadema can spawn every 2 weeks, the larvae will now be used to identify the biochemical cues responsible for settlement and metamorphosis.

The Caribbean part of this project also includes measuring and collecting settlers with the use of settlement collectors, which are small 10 x 10 cm plates suspended in the water column around both islands. These collectors have already demonstrated a significant difference in recruit density between locations, with recruitment ranging from very high to almost nothing. In addition, they also found that the highest settlement rates were between the months of May through September. Both of these facts will help researchers decide when and where to deploy “assisted natural recovery” efforts to help boost the settlement and survival rates for Diadema larvae and juveniles.

In addition, field surveys are being conducted to identify the most significant predators. This will aid in the design of shelters which will be built and deployed to protect the juveniles on the reef. A combined settlement collector and juvenile shelter will result in the “Diadema Booster,” hopefully encouraging a more successful recovery of these urchins around Saba and Sint Eustatius. If successful, this project will facilitate an increase in adult sea urchin populations, along with an overall decrease in macro-algae, leading to improved coral cover and healthier reefs.

After year 1 of the project, researchers concluded that some reefs have very high natural settlement rates and therefore have a high potential for assisted natural recovery with help of the Diadema booster. However, on some reefs natural settlement is low or absent. To restore Diadema populations on these reefs, the project partners intent to start a new project with the focus on other methods to restore Diadema populations, for example the large scale production and out planting of juveniles. Interested organizations are encouraged to get in touch with the researchers!

International Collaboration

In July, researchers Alwin Hylkema and Tom Wijers from Van Hall Larenstein shared their findings in an international Diadema restoration seminar hosted by Healthyreefs to encourage knowledge sharing within the region. In the seminar experts from around the Caribbean were able to showcase their research, highlighting efforts which they have found to be successful. The key to healthy reefs is maintaining a balance between all of its inhabitants, therefore the recovery of key species, such as the Diadema, is critical for reestablishing this balance. It will be exciting to see what projects such as these will discover next.

Credit Tom Wijers 1

Settled juveniles (photo credit Tom Wijers).

 

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Male suspect arrested for having a firearm in his car in scooter theft investigation

SINT MAARTEN (SAUNDERS/COLE BAY) - The man with the initials N.W. is facing charges for having a firearm in his vehicle on Tuesday evening of September 29th, 2020, police said in a late-night Wednesday statement. 

On Tuesday morning a man with the initials J.A.W. appeared at the Detective Department to launch an official complaint of theft of his scooter that was stolen from his residence in the Saunders area.

J.A.W. told the detectives that he had seen the car involved in stealing his scooter later in the day and tried to approach the driver of the grey-colored vehicle. While approaching the vehicle he was threatened with a firearm by an unknown person.  

Later in the afternoon, the police received information that the grey car involved in the theft of the scooter was seen near Subway on the Welfare Road. The driver of the vehicle appeared shortly after and told the officers that he had rented the vehicle from a friend. He was requested to appear at the police station to give a statement about the vehicle in which he was driving.

During a search that took place later that afternoon in the vehicle, a silver revolver was encountered hidden in the car. After consultation with the Public Prosecutor, the driver of the car was arrested and was questioned about the firearm.

He has been incarcerated at the police station pending further investigation. This investigation is still ongoing. (KPSM)

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