On Friday 21st we closed a very successful workshop, drinking fresh local juice and lot of ideas and high motivation to face major and common issues within Caribbean islands raised during last week workshop.

From October 17th to 20th, Montserrat National Trust hosted an international workshop organised along with Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). This major workshop was planned under the EU BEST project; a 3 year project called Securing Pockets of Paradise in the Caribbean.

This event was also an opportunity to the Trust to build networks with other territories which have similar issues with the hope of sharing approaches to combat issues of IAS.

During this workshop, stakeholders from 14 territories (located in and around the Caribbean island/countries UKOTs) had the opportunity to address their concerns and practical ways of IAS (Invasive Alien Species) management. Different sessions allowed each partner representative to address their specific issues which are the following:

(a) Biosecurity; developing suitable approaches, systems and implementation at territory level

(b) Firearm usage in invasive species control and management

(c) Public awareness and outreach when managing sensitive invasive species (e.g. cats and goats)

(d) National invasive alien species strategy development.

The participants who were representatives of Departments of Environment, Agriculture, Police Customs, National Trusts, and other Conservation organisations, took the time during this conference to share aspects of IAS facts and impacts in their respective countries and discuss together in order to establish protocols and recommendations that will meet the requirement of the EU Best Project Objectives.

What are the benefits of Montserrat?

Montserrat National Trust and the Department of Environment are major actors locally within the project. This workshop was really instructive in terms of practical ways to manage local IAS. As part of the project objectives, MNT will launch a survey of the population to determine the actual problem facing residents and their knowledge about the invasive species.  Indeed, public awareness is unanimously defined as one of the most important tools to manage the IAS. Local populations are the most efficient and important actors in IAS management.

The Department of Environment will be managing and monitoring plots and log records of movements of feral and loose livestock. Both organisations will discuss and agree interventions that would reduce impacts of some invasive plants species.

Montserrat National Trust was very happy to be able to share with the visitors the hospitality and the Montserrat experience. A tour in Plymouth (with MVO assistance) allowed participants from overseas to measure resilience of the Montserrat population and also helped them to have a full view of environmental, social and emotional impacts of the volcano eruption on the island.

Montserrat National Trust wants also to thank its friends and members who assisted  by volunteering with  cooking, serving, guiding participants during their stay on island and various agents to help in finding accommodation and also everyone who helped the staff to provide a good and memorable workshop experience for the participants.

Photography: Ravo R. and Tony Bates

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