The Environment Unit has numerous ongoing projects they monitor for the protection and health of the environment in the National Parks.
The Environment Unit does monthly water quality sampling at several different points within Falmouth and English Harbour. We aim to monitor the quality of the water before, during and after yachting season, and if necessary, identify the sources of pollution to the harbours. Due to the diversity of fauna and flora found within the marine areas of the park, including these two harbours, it is important to monitor and control the amount of pollution entering into the water systems so as to reduce the negative effect on the marine wildlife. This project is in conjunction with the Fisheries Division Laboratory at Point Wharf, St. John’s which does tests for pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphates, E.coli among others.
Profound thanks must be extended to Mr. Paul Deeth for loaning us use of his boat to collect the samples.
The lionfish is a predatory reef fish native to the tropical waters of the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. Although the exact way in which this species got introduced is still unknown it is likely that it occurred in the 1990’s via hurricanes and tank releases in North America. Lionfish have been reported as far north as Rhode Island and as far south as Columbia. They are veracious predators and consume their prey whole. They have no natural predators in the Caribbean and are able to reproduce at a high rate has resulted in a population explosion throughout the Caribbean. Recently, however, there have been reports of the native Grouper and Mutton Snapper species preying on Lionfish, which could help stop further infestation. But, due to the overfishing of these predators the impact on the lionfish population is negligible. The Environment Officer at the NDNP is working on an eradication program for these lionfish and we request that the location of any sightings of these predators be reported to the Environment Unit immediately (located upstairs the Museum, 481-5034).
Recycling is very important for the environment as it reduces the amount of carbon emissions used in the productions of materials as well as aids in the extension of the life of the local sanitary landfill here in Antigua. The Environment Unit of the Nelsons Dockyard National Park (NDNP) in association with the Antigua and Barbuda Waste Recycling Corporation (ABWRC) has initiated a recycling program here within the NDNP. We are currently recycling (#’s 1 & 2) plastics as well as Aluminium cans. These items need not to be separated, but we ask that you place them in a clearly labelled bag or a transparent bag (which can be purchased at Crab Hole Liquors). We very much appreciate the efforts made by everyone to facilitate this project. Although the initial target of the recycling project was the yachts, we have begun to spread it to the local businesses in the dockyard and eventually we hope to have an effect in the community.