|Regional Management Plan for the West Indian Manatee, Trichechus manatus|
|CEP Technical Report No. 35 1995||All CEP Technical Reports|
PREFACE AND OBJECTIVES
The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW), adopted by the Governments of the Wider Caribbean Region during the Conference of Plenipotentiaries, Kingston, Jamaica, 15-18 January 1990, entails the formulation and implementation of the Regional Programme for SPAW, under the framework of the Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP). In 1991, the Governments adopted the Annexes to the SPAW Protocol which contain the lists of species of flora and fauna of regional concern which require protection under the Protocol.
Preparation of the present document follows the recommendation of Articles 11 and 21 of the SPAW Protocol, which call for the establishment, publication and dissemination of general guidelines and criteria for the management and recovery of endangered and threatened species of regional concern, in the form of regional management plans. The Governments of the region have identified the West Indian manatee, Trichechus manatus as one of the priority protected species of regional concern. Consequently they have requested the formulation of this management plan which was prepared by the Regional Co-ordinating Unit (RCU) of CEP of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in co-operation with the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) of the Government of Jamaica.
The Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (ISTAC) to the SPAW Protocol has met twice since the adoption of the Protocol, to provide guidance for the formulation and implementation of the workplan and budget of the SPAW Regional Programme, including the identification of conservation activities for priority species. The First Meeting of ISTAC was convened from 4-8 May 1992 in Kingston, Jamaica, and a Second Meeting was held from 3-5 May 1993 in French Guiana.
Countries across the manatee range are at various levels of knowledge about the status and distribution of their manatee populations, as well as at various conservation stages. Despite an increasing interest regarding manatees among Wider Caribbean biologists in the past few years, advancements have been sparse due to a reduced level of funding and the fact that a co-ordinated regional network is not yet in place to share information. Prior to developing detailed country-by-country management measures it is necessary to assess manatees' present status, identify priority areas where action should be taken promptly and develop/activate a regional technical network.
The overall objective of this draft Regional Management Plan for the West Indian Manatee is to serve as a framework document for the conservation of the manatee and its habitat in the region. The specific goals of this draft Management Plan are a) to compile information on the distribution and status of West Indian manatee in the manatee-range countries of the Wider Caribbean (Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and U.S. Florida) and b) identify priorities for the management of this endangered species. Most emphasis is dedicated to populations in areas other than Florida (USA), as they tend to share similar problems and conservation needs. This plan was discussed and reviewed during the Regional Workshop on the Conservation of the West Indian Manatee in the Wider Caribbean Region, Kingston, Jamaica, 1-4 March 1994, jointly organized by the NRCA of the Government of Jamaica and the CEP of UNEP.
The present document is based on national reports submitted to the RCU by several of the manatee-range countries following the recommendations of the Second Meeting of ISTAC, as well as on information contained in communications received by the author, published literature and unpublished reports.
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