Cetacean Society International
Whales Alive! - Vol. X No. 1 - January 2001
Resources in the Caribbean
By William Rossiter
The Eastern Caribbean Cetacean Network (ECCN) is a volunteer sighting and stranding network that documents the regional occurrence and distribution of marine mammals. Directed by Nathalie Ward, CSI Board Member, ECCN was instrumental in publishing the UNEP document, "Marine Mammals of the Wider Caribbean: A Review of their Conservation Status" that created the February 2000 Marine Mammal Action Plan for the United Nations Environment Programme's Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol (SPAW). CSI is proud to have helped support intern Hazel Richmond's recent work to create an ECCN database, organizing over 1000 marine mammal sightings, strandings, and incidental fisheries catches covering the geographic region from Antigua to Trinidad and Tobago. ECCN will make this information available to the scientific community on an ECCN website later this spring.
The Marine Education and Research Center (MER) is an incredibly rich resource, also based in Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and also directed by Nathalie Ward. MER projects proudly helped by CSI include: in-school programs about whales and dolphins for West Indian children (ages 5-14) throughout the St. Vincent and the Grenadines' island chain; a series of whale education articles in the regional newspaper, the COMPASS, distributed from Antigua to Venezuela; and the field guide, "Whales and Dolphins of the Caribbean," in English, Spanish and French. There is more to come in future newsletters about ECCN, MER and other triumphs of Nathalie Ward, but for now we wish her well as she accelerates into the final stages of her Ph.D.