...National Progress Reports presented at the 2002-10 meetings are accessible on the IWC website. Reports from previous years will also become available in this format in the future. The Committee reaffirms its view of the importance of national Progress Reports to its work in a number of sub-committee’s and recommends that the Commission continues to urge member nations to submit them following the approved guidelines (IWC, 1993b). Non-member nations wishing to submit Progress Reports are welcome to do so. It also draws attention to the need for those countries that do provide them to ensure that they are completed fully (e.g. see Items 7.3, 7.7, 14.5). Donovan reported that a prototype online submission system and database has been developed (IWC, 2011e, p.1) that will be trialled by a number of participants during and immediately after the meeting. It is expected that the online system can be used for next year’s national Progress Reports. The Committee welcomes this development. A summary of the information included in the Progress Reports presented this year is given as Annex O....
Although marine turtles are conspicuous members of the Caribbean fauna, significant gaps remain in our knowledge of their distribution and status within the region. Nowhere is knkledge more fragmentary than for the Lesser Antilles which, following the definition of Bond (1978) , include those islands fro:> Saba and Anguilla south and east to Barbados and Grenada. Comprising 17 major islands and 16 banks, the Lesser Antilles lie in an arc some 630 km long, and provide nesting and foraging habitats for four species of marine turtles: the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) , hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) , leatherback (Dermochelys cor iacea) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta) . Although the olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) .occurs peripherally in the wider Caribbean region, it is considered a waif in the Lesser Antilles. Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempi) has not been recorded from this region.
Field and laboratory observations of feeding by invasive Pacific red lionfish Pterois volitans were conducted during June through August of 2008, 2009 and 2010 near Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas. Observations of this invasive marine predator revealed a previously undocumented piscivorous behavior. While slowly approaching prey fish, lionfish produce jets of water directed toward their prey. These jets may confuse or distract prey, and often result in prey fish facing the attacking lionfish, increasing the probability of head-first capture and swallowing. While a variety of fishes are re - ported to create directed water jets, to our knowledge, this is the first report of a fish that does so during the capture of fish prey. This behavior may confer a high degree of predatory efficiency, and thus contribute to the dramatic success of this Pacific invader of tropical Western Atlantic and Caribbean coral reefs
Aim Our aim was to investigate genetic structure in Neotropical populations of common green iguanas (Iguana iguana) and to compare that structure with past geological events and present barriers. Additionally, we compared levels of divergence between lineages within Iguana with those within closely related genera in the subfamily Iguaninae. Location Neotropics. Methods DNA sequence data were collected at four loci for up to 81 individuals from 35 localities in 21 countries. The four loci, one mitochondrial (ND4) and three nuclear (PAC, NT3, c-mos), were chosen for their differences in coalescent and mutation rates. Each locus was analysed separately to generate gene trees, and in combination in a species-level analysis. Results The pairwise divergence between Iguana delicatissima and I. iguana was much greater than that between sister species of Conolophus and Cyclura and non-sister species of Sauromalus, at both mitochondrial (mean 10.5% vs. 1.5–4%, respectively) and nuclear loci (mean 1% vs. 0–0.18%, respectively). Furthermore, divergences within I. iguana were equal to or greater than those for interspecific comparisons within the outgroup genera. Phylogenetic analyses yielded four strongly supported, geographically defined mitochondrial clades (3.8–5% divergence) within I. iguana. Three of the four clades were found using PAC (0.18–1.65% divergence) and two using NT3 (0.6% divergence) alone. The primary divergence, recovered in three polymorphic loci, was between individuals north and south of the Isthmus of Panama. The southern group was differentiated into clades comprising individuals on either side of the northern Andes, using both PAC and ND4. Main conclusions Deep genetic divergences were found within I. iguana that are congruent with past and current geological barriers. These divisions are greater than sister species comparisons in other Iguaninae genera, indicating the possible presence of cryptic species. Geological changes from the midMiocene through the Plio-Pleistocene have shaped the pattern of divergence in I. iguana. The uplift of the northern Andes presented a barrier between South American I. iguana populations by 4 Ma. Populations north of the Isthmus of Panama form a clade that is distinct from those to the south, and may have expanded northwards following the closing of the Isthmus of Panama 2.5 Ma
Corals in the genus Acropora generate much of the structural complexity upon which coral reefs depend, but they are susceptible to damage from toxic seaweeds. Acropora nasuta minimizes this damage by chemically cuing symbiotic goby fishes (Gobiodon histrio or Paragobiodon echinocephalus) to remove the toxic seaweed Chlorodesmis fastigiata. Within minutes of seaweed contact, or contact from only seaweed chemical extract, the coral releases an odor that recruits gobies to trim the seaweed and dramatically reduce coral damage that would otherwise occur. In turn, chemically defended gobies become more toxic after consumption of this noxious alga. Mutualistic gobies and corals appear to represent a marine parallel to terrestrial ant-plants, in that the host provides shelter and food in return for protection from natural enemies
Forty-one additional cetacean records are reported for the Leeward Dutch Antilles, expanding the list of documented records to 70 (53 sightings and 17 strandings). First records are given for the melonhead whale Peponocephala electra (Gray), such that now 13 species are confirmed for these islands. The most sighted whales are Bryde’s whale and shortfin pilot whale, whereas the most sighted dolphins are spinner and bottlenose dolphins. Most cetacean movement is upstream and towards the east/southeast. Reported strandings have been on the rise, of which 47% involved beaked whales (goosebeak whale and Antillean beaked whale)
A dead dolphin found on Bonaire in August 2011 is identified as adult Fraser’s dolphin Lagenodelphis hosei, a new species for the Dutch Caribbean. A first closer examination showed a collapsed lung, stomach parasite infection and abundant mouth ulceration as indications of its health status. The animal was relatively fresh and did not die very long before it was found. Like more often with stranded deep diving cetacean species within the area, remnants of crustacean were found in its beak indicating recent foraging.
A review of the introduced agricultural pests and animal and plant diseases and vectors for the Dutch Caribbean in which a total of 47 exotic pests, diseases, parasites and pathogens established on one or more of the Dutch Caribbean islands are listed and discussed. These include 2 species of voracious herbivorous snails, 7 species of millipedes, 8 species of invasive ants, and some 16 species of insects that infest plants. Most agricultural pests are not strongly host-specific and will typically also affect native plants and/or animals. This makes it very difficult to eradicate or control these species once established. Therefore, prevention and early eradication is key.
The most information on invasive alien pests is available for the leeward Dutch islands while the least is known for the windward Dutch islands. The principal means of entry is the importation of unsterilized soil and plant material through container shipment, import of ornamental plants and air traffic. The economic costs, both in terms of damages and control measures, as well as missed opportunities that these species cause, has not been estimated but certainly runs in the millions of dollars annually. By far the most economically costly invasive species is the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, a pest and disease vector closely associated with man. In a few cases, biological control and eradication has been successful.
Introduction of invasive pest species continues at a high rate in the Dutch Caribbean and preventive measures are urgently needed to limit future costs and risks in terms of economy and health.
Key recommendations are: a) to strongly restrict and control importation of ornamental plants, most of which can be propagated locally without risk of new introductions, b) restrict importation of unsterilized foodstuffs, c) practice tighter control and prophylactic fumigation of container shipments, d) continue strict veterinary controls on animal importations. To effectively implement such measures, will require greater awareness, supporting legislation, cooperation of customs agents and shippers and the presence of a biosecurity unit authorized and equipped to act on short notice.
Based on experiences in other Caribbean countries and existing trade patterns and taking into account which species could survive in an arid climate, it is possible to draw up a preliminary listing of “Alert” species for the Dutch Caribbean. Such a listing is a critical tool for effective prevention. The preliminary Alert list discusses 21 species to be on the look-out for, most of which are insects and most of which can be expected to cause important damage to crops and/or nature, or both, if introduced.
The National Nature Policy Plan 2001-2005 (NPP-5) and its current status of implementation was assessed as a first step towards a new Nature Policy Plan for the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius). The purpose of this exercise is to determine which action points of NPP-5 are still relevant, and to identify key new developments to be aware of when setting goals and strategies for the new Nature Policy Plan for the Caribbean Netherlands. The NPP-5 was the first formal nature policy plan of the Netherlands Antilles. It lists a total of 47 policy goals and projects in the text for the period 2001-2005. Based on these, 61 action points were listed in an Action Matrix for the period 2001-2005. Of these 31 were achieved to a high degree of completion between 2001 and 2010, notwithstanding the serious and chronic lack of both funds and manpower (NEPP-7). Based on this assessment, a total of 40 action points may be brought forward based on the NPP-5. These not only include most “one-time” action points not yet achieved but also several action points that were achieved but which are of an on-going nature.
While much has been achieved in terms of policy development and legal frameworks over the last 10 years, climate change implies that future nature management will be confronted with an increasingly rapid succession of major ecological problems such as coral bleaching, hurricane impacts, and invading species.
Our quick-scan assessment showed that policy development over the last 10 years has suffered significantly from challenges in terms of both capacity and funding, as well as in decision-making in reaching its goals. Controversial topics regarding “rules and regulations”, “cooperation”, and “financial instruments” largely failed to be achieved due to problems in the decision making process, whereas less controversial action points such as “reporting”, drawing up “plans”, doing “research” and “education”, especially suffered from a lack of capacity and funding.
Several main topics are identified that will need attention in the new nature management plan. The new nature policy will have to meet standard and basic policy needs, information and management needs, and also have to accommodate the latest conceptual developments and the pressing realities of global climate change and alien species invasions. Notable is that a large number of new and serious threats have come to the forefront since the NPP-5 was set 10 years ago.
Because the diverse, colourful and unique natural ecosystems of the Caribbean Netherlands also represent the single most important local economic resource on which to build long-term prosperity of the inhabitants of these islands, the nature policy plan needs to be recognized as much more than simply a way to protect nature and avert ecological crisis. It is in fact a key policy tool by which to actively safeguard and create economic well-being and opportunity for these islands.
In 2009, the first lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles) was found in the Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel, in Quintana Roo, in the Mexican Caribbean; however, no official record was published about this finding but just anecdotic evidence. Early in 2010, we organized workshops to lobster diver-fishermen from the northern Yucatan Peninsula on lionfish biology and potential threat of invasion, and invited them to safely collect lionfish and record basic information. In late 2010, a fisherman captured the first lionfish for the Gulf of Mexico 130 km off the northern Yucatan coast, and 50 km off eastern Alacranes Reef National Park (ARNP). Fishermen showed positive responses; thus, more workshops were organized. From 2010 to 2011, about 445 lionfish (90 - 274 mm TL) were voluntarily collected by fishermen: 1) along the coast: El Cuyo (N = 53; size range 110 - 195 mm TL), Las Coloradas (n = 1; 186 mm TL), Río Lagartos (n = 81; 139 - 327 mm TL), San Felipe (n = 2; 255-274 mm TL), Dzilam de Bravo (n = 9; 97 - 140 mm TL) Telchac Puerto (n = 1; 155 mm TL), Progreso (n = 3; 132 - 153 mm TL) and Sisal (n = 1; 145 mm TL) and 2) off the coast: Bajos del Norte (n = 21; 83 - 217 mm TL), ARNP (n = 269; 90 - 260 mm TL), and Cayo Arenas (n = 4; 134 - 180 mm TL). This work showed that 1) local community participation on conservation is viable and 2) the lionfish invaded the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. This abundance represents a pale number of lionfish since collections were only on a voluntary basis. It is necessary finding ways of collaboration with monitoring initiatives in the Mexican Caribbean and establishing others (Campeche and Veracruz) to reach decisive actions for the lionfish invasion in Mexico.