Grand Ilet Mangrove Replanting Wildlife Survey

On Sunday, Les Fruits de Mer made what I believe is our first official scientific expedition, to conduct a survey of fish, invertebrates and vegetation in the mangroves of Grand Ilet in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. The mangroves we surveyed were actually planted by EPIC (Environmental Protection in the Caribbean) and volunteers several years ago. Today, they are growing well and we did the survey on behalf of EPIC to begin measuring the impact of the mangroves on the local wildlife.

Aboard kayaks generously loaned by Tri-Sport, we headed out to the islet, a trip that was both fun and definitely very good exercise for infrequent kayakers. Once at the site, we stopped briefly at the beach between our two primary survey areas. A knife fight amongst the drunken, pirate-like folks hanging out on the beach convinced us to proceed immediately to our first survey transects.

After using line to demarcate our transects, we attempted the first fish survey on snorkel. The maximum depth in the transect area was approximately ten centimeters, which made it very difficult, even for the world’s first Extreme Shallow Snorkeling team. The only way to see underwater was to tilt one’s head sideways so one eye would be underwater. Changing plans slightly, we did the surveying primarily on foot, while snorkeling the slightly deeper (but still quite shallow) areas around the transects.

Although there were few fish inside the transect areas due to the shallowness, there were several species in the area, including juvenile jacks, barracuda, checkered pufferfish, small bait fish and other juvenile tropical fish. The most common invertebrates were mostly echinoderms: sea cucumbers, sea stars and urchins. We did see one large shrimp, a couple blue crabs, two types of sponge and one small patch of coral as well.

Overall, the survey was quite successful and very fun. We returned safely by kayak with data in hand and the team enjoyed a lovely supper together.

Comments are closed.