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To promote the conservation of the coral reefs and related species

Une biohut et des alevins |A biohut with juvenile fish
Une biohut et des alevins |A biohut with juvenile fish

Annual Review of Marine Reserves Continues

The annual review of marine reserves in Guadeloupe (Petit Terre), Saint Barthélemy, and Saint Martin continues on a regular basis. Julien Chalifour and Vincent Oliva went from Saint Martin to Petite Terre from October 18-21, 2021, as invited by the ONF and Ti Té, who manage the site. They then went to Saint Barthélemy on October 25-27, for an identical mission with the staff of the ATE. The annual review for the Réserve in Saint Martin, scheduled for December 6-10, did not take place for technical reasons. It has been postponed until January 11-12, 2022.

Une biohut et des alevins | A biohut with juvenile fish
Une biohut et des alevins | A biohut with juvenile fish

Juvenile Fish Appreciate The BioHuts

If exploratory fishing missions, as part of the BIODIV’OM Life project, aim to document and describe the arrival of post-larvae by our shores, the installation in February 2020 of 14 BioHuts, actual huts to protect out coastal biodiversity, add a complementary approach, The huts are also part of a study on the colonization of small coastal areas, as well as the study of the two species of grouper cited. On September 2, a dive took place to observe these artificial habitats, where juvenile fish can mature, out of the reach of their predators. The metal mesh of these BioHuts allow observation of the young fish and serves as a support for the development of the food they need. This second approach also allows the observation of other species, less sensitive to light, who escaped from the exploratory fisheries.

Tom Desfossez
Tom Desfossez

Two Interns Participate in BIODIV’OM Life

Tom Desfossez, a university student in a two-year program for the management and protection of nature at the IGPN in Montpellier, completed an internship from June 28 to August 20 at the Réserve Naturelle. In addition to ongoing missions of the Réserve, he was especially interested in the BIODIV’OM Life project that promotes the conservation of the Nassau and Atlantic goliath grouper. He worked hard during the collection of post-larvae, on their identification, and management of the data. He questioned local fishermen in order to better understand their practices, the size of their catch, and how often they caught grouper. He also created an awareness tool for the protection of grouper, in the form of a brochure intended for socio-professionals: fishermen, merchants, and restaurateurs, as well as to provide information for visitors to the island. A marine biology major at the University of La Rochelle, Matthieu Pujol spontaneously presented his candidature for a month-long internship at the Réserve Naturelle, as a volunteer. He participated in the daily operations with the staff, and most notably took part in the inquiry led by Tom Desfossez.

Récupération matinale des dispositifs de pêche exploratoire Morning recovery of exploratory fishing devices
Récupération matinale des dispositifs de pêche exploratoire Morning recovery of exploratory fishing devices

Final Exploratory Fishing Session For The Life Program

As part of the BIODIV’OM Life program, the sixth session for collecting samples of post-larvae took place on October 3-9, 2021, under a new moon, closing out exploratory fishing. The data is being sorted and will reveal whether or not post-larvae for the Nassau or Atlantic goliath grouper were found in the waters of Saint Martin. These results are not totally conclusive, as the arrival of such post-larvae could have been outside of the time periods when the samples were taken, or at other sites, or even that the sampling was done under unusual conditions tied to the water currents or the water temperature of the ocean. However, a large number of post-larvae for other species could be observed, in proportions that do not necessarily correspond to that of adult fish as observed during dives. The greater pipefish—for example—a sort of unrolled seahorse, very present among the post-larvae—is much more rarely identified in its adult stage. These observations will also help adapt the calendar of post-larvae arrivals, which will facilitate additional operations to rejuvenate other species such as, among others, the surgeonfish.

Thank You To The Volunteers The Réserve Naturelle sincerely thanks all of the volunteers who came to lend a hand during these excursions at sea, which took place at night to place light traps, and at dawn to collect them.

IFRECOR Activities in Saint Barthélemy

On September 24, 2021, Julien Chalifour met with the local committee of IFRECOR (French Initiative For Coral Reefs) in Saint Barthélemy, wearing two hats; as a scientific expert and as the representative of the local IFRECOR committee in Saint Martin. The aim was to provide an update on the committee’s activities 2021 in Saint Barthélemy—a study on wastewater from the water treatment plant, collaboration with an association working on coral restoration and the replanting of vegetation along beaches, and a general attempt to limit the impact on underwater plant beds and reefs—and to shed light on projects for 2022.

The local IFRECOR committee of Saint Martin is still in its initial structuring phase. In fact, only local elected officials can officially request the creation of such a committee, which has already been unofficially recognized by IFRECOR
  • On September 22, with an eye toward the tourist season, the technical services department inspected and repaired the mooring blocks and buoys made available to boats at Rocher Créole and Tintamare.
  • On September 30, new mooring buoys were installed at Rocher Créole and Tintamare.

To promote the conservation of the sea turtle population

Tortues marines échouées, victimes d’une collision Beached sea turtles, victims of a collision
Tortues marines échouées, victimes d’une collision Beached sea turtles, victims of a collision

Turtles Washed Up On Shore : What To Do

As part of the National Sea Turtle Plan for the conservation
of sea turtles, Aude Berger and Julien Chalifour participated
in training about the beaching of these animals on the shore.
Organized by the ONF and the association, Evasion Tropicale,
the contact for beached turtles in Guadeloupe, this training was
accessible via video conferencing from Saint Martin. It will be
completed in January 2022 by a session held in Guadeloupe
about the necropsy of beached animals.
What to do in the case of a beached turtle? Whether the animal
is dead or injured, it is imperative not to touch it, and
immediately call the Réserve Naturelle at + 0590 6 90 34 77
10 to let them know about the beaching and tell them the exact
location. The agents will handle the details of the beaching:
identification of the species, its size, the probable cause of
death, removal of the animal... All of this information serves to
improve management of the sea turtle population.
In 2021, nine beached turtle cadavers were observed in Saint
Martin, of which seven were possibly the result of a collision
with a boat engine.

Traces de montée de tortues marines Traces of sea turtles climbing on the beach
Traces de montée de tortues marines Traces of sea turtles climbing on the beach

Sea Turtle Egg Laying By The Numbers

November 30, 2021 officially marked the end of the sea turtle egg-laying season. The Réserve Naturelle sincerely thanks the 50 volunteers who lent a hand to ensure the patrols on the beaches on the French side of the island.

The numbers:

  • 475 patrols completed
  • 171 by the Réserve Naturelle
  • 304 by volunteers
  • 226 traces of sea turtles were observed Of which
  • 192 were green turtles
Accouplement de tortues à Baie Longue Sea turtles mating at Long Bay
Accouplement de tortues à Baie Longue Sea turtles mating at Long Bay

Mating Of Sea Turtles In Our Coastal Waters

In 2021, the mating of green sea turtles was observed very close to our beaches. For three weeks, several couples were seen in full action by eye witnesses, who were quickly joined by agents of the Réserve. Saint Martin is thus not only a site for egg laying, but also for the mating of sea turtles. The preservation of these animals requires respect and tranquility as well as the maintaining excellent conditions of the essentials needed for their survival (food, reproduction, and egg laying).

To promote the conservation of nurseries for sharks and rays

Une femelle requin tigre filmée par Kap Natirel A female tiger shark filmed by Kap Natirel
Une femelle requin tigre filmée par Kap Natirel A female tiger shark filmed by Kap Natirel

Sharks Filmed At A Depth Of 8 To 30 Meters

From August 16-20, 2021, the Réserve Naturelle mobilized both human and nautical resources in collaboration with the association Kap Natirel in Guadeloupe, represented by Océane Beaufort, head of the project and coordinator of the Reguar network, which studies the sharks and rays of the French Antilles. Their goal was to complete an inventory of the species of sharks present in Saint Martin, thanks to financing from the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) for all of the French islands in the Caribbean. The program “pou pwoteksion rékin karib” (“for protection of Caribbean sharks” in Creole) comprised installing five cameras along the coast, at a depth of 8 to 30 meters, letting them film for an hour and a half, then changing their position, from the Lowlands as far as Oyster Pond. These cameras on tripods were adapted to attract the sharks, who were in turn attracted to fish they could not reach. The operation was a success and allows for the identification of several species of sharks—of different sizes and at different stages of their life. This highlight of the event was seeing a female tiger shark carrying a beacon on her fin. The beacon had been implanted a few months earlier by the DCNA (Dutch Caribbean Alliance), Sint Maarten Nature Foundation, the Saba Conservation Foundation, Beneath the Waves, and Caribbean Shark Coalition, as part of a project studying the reproduction of tiger sharks. The diving association, Jorakhae Freediving School, also participated in the dives.

To maintain or improve local conditions for marine mammal populations

Permanent Recording Of Whale Songs

On June 9, 2021, like they do every month, the Réserve recovered the hydrophone submerged since February 2021 at a depth of 15 meters to record the sounds that reverberate in “the world of silence,” most notably the songs of marine mammals, as part of the CARI’MAM project. The data recorded on a memory card is sent to researchers at the University of Montpellier, who use artificial intelligence to learn how to recognize the different species of marine mammals. Eventually, this will also be used to automatically handle the hours of recordings, completely autonomously, and produce entirely new kinds of data. The hydrophone is submerged between the small islands of Tintamarre and Scrub, in French waters, where it records one minute every five minutes, 24/7. Its batteries must be changed once a month.

Nautical Pros Learn The Rules Of Whale Watching

The Réserve Naturelle and the AGOA sanctuary were asked by the association Métimer to teach nautical professionals about current regulations concerning whale watching in our waters, as the zone is frequently used for reproduction by humpback whales and as a nursery for their calves. A bilingual presentation was organized by AGOA at the Yacht Club of Fort Louis Marina on December 5, in conjunction with Michel Vély, president of the Megaptera association, and Julien Chalifour, director of the scientific department at the Réserve Naturelle of Saint-Martin. Nautical professionals from both sides of the island learned that all species of marine mammals are protected, especially against intentional disturbance. This implies specific behavior while whale watching, which consists of observing these marine mammals from a boat out in the ocean. Only commercial companies that have done the training organized by AGOA (or one of their contractors) and who hold a specific scientific label are currently allowed to approach marine mammals, and no closer than at a distance of 100 meters. All others who have ocean-based activities— professionals without the label or amateur boaters–must respect a distance of more than 300 meters. This rule respects the tranquility of these large marine mammals, as well as their safety and that of passengers aboard the boats. Any disturbance could in fact provoke abnormal behavior and cause accidents, or at the least inflict unnecessary expenditures of energy for the mammals, which could threaten the success of their reproductive process. The respect of these rules guarantees continued observation of these animals, most notably the humpback whales, in the future in Saint Martin. After this conference, Métimer was asked to organize a new presentation to share this information with the publicat- large, for a wider understanding of proper whale-watching behavior.

To maintain or improve local conditions for nesting bird populations

The Birds of Saint Martin By Month

The birds of Saint Martin are in the spotlight in the 2022 calendar published by the LPO as part of the BIODIV’OM Life project, in collaboration with the Réserve Naturelle. One hundred of these pretty calendars were given to the Réserve’s partners, as well as teachers and partners of BIODIV’OM Life.

Keeping an eye on the regulations and the level of human activities compatible with the goals of La Réserve

Melocactus intortus
Melocactus intortus

The Réserve Authorized To Report Infringements To The Environmental Code

Requisitioned by the prosecutor and at the request of the research section of the gendarmerie, the Réserve Naturelle is authorized to report infringements of rules concerning protected species and milieux, especially such species as sea turtles and Turk’s Head cactus, on the beach in Orient Bay. These infringements to the environmental code, as reported by agents of the Réserve, were committed during the rebuilding of five beach restaurants. All of the beaches of Saint Martin are considered as sites for egg-laying by sea turtles, and as a result, protected. Which means that all development and use of the beaches is restricted in order to promote the conservation of the sea turtle population.

Action SP2 - Environmental Police Activities

  • On November 3, the Réserve once again blocked the entrance to Galion with large rocks. The rocks that had been put into place to block that access a few years ago had been anonymously moved in the meantime, and a large number of rental quads were driving onto the land. All of the companies based in Philipsburg that rent quads have been informed that their vehicles will be seized if they continue to adventure into the Réserve Naturelle.
  • A rudimentary cabin built by the mouth of the Baie de l’Embouchure was destroyed on August 13 by agents of the Réserve Naturelle. The area surrounding the hut was cleared of cans and other debris left by those who had used it temporarily.
Au mouillage au Rocher Créole
Au mouillage au Rocher Créole
  • The Réserve sent an important message to all nautical professionals whose activity takes place in the waters of the Réserve Naturelle. On September 16, 2021, the director of the Seas of Guadeloupe sent out a press release putting an end to the tacit annual renewal of authorization to do business in the marine park of the Réserve Naturelle. The professionnals were also informed that they had to pick up a dossier at the Réserve office, fill it out, and return it to the Réserve before October 15, 2021. The press release indicated that a technical committee comprising the Réserve Naturelle and the appropriate French governmental services would select the dossiers that merited an authorization, good for one year. It was also noted that this authorization could be suspended in the case of irregularities observed by the Réserve or other competent parties.
These new authorizations also led to the creation of a list of boats permitted and authorized—or not—to work in the waters of the Réserve. This list was submitted to the maritime surveillance brigade.
  • On November 9, Réserve agents repaired the safety rope placed in the water to protect swimmers close to the dock on Pinel.
  • On October 11, alerted by an eye-witness, the Réserve removed a very long, heavy fishnet that was caught on the reefs near the beach in Baie Rouge, not far from “David Hole.” This task was financed by the Megaptera association.

Action SP1 Carry out surveillance patrols in marine, terrestrial, and lacustrine milieux in the RNN

Police Activity From June 1 through December 31, 2021, there were 97 controls done on land: 88 of which were in compliance; nine were not.


Ensuring environmental communication, awareness, and education

Visite pédagogique avec la réserve naturelle à Pinel | Academic field trip to Pinel with the Réserve NaturelleAcademic field trip to Pinel with the Réserve Naturelle
Visite pédagogique avec la réserve naturelle à Pinel | Academic field trip to Pinel with the Réserve NaturelleAcademic field trip to Pinel with the Réserve Naturelle

The Réserve Met 300 Kids At Pinel

On October 27, 28, and 29, 2021, the Réserve played its role in promoting environmental awareness by stepping up to the plate for the Nautical Club of Saint Martin. This association organized three days for the “discovery of fresh-air activities,” which took place on the small island of Pinel, for kids aged seven to 14, from disadvantaged families. Part of the national strategy for the fight against poverty, this event allowed 300 kids from Sandy Ground, Concordia, and French Quarter to explore Pinel and try out various sports and activities. The Réserve Naturelle organized pedagogical visits for small groups of 10 students, non-stop, to teach them about marine and terrestrial eco-systems, which are particularly fragile on this little wedge of land surrounded by water.

Details of the pedagogical activities


Une tortue marine au centre de l’intérêt de ces jeunes élèves A sea turtle of interest to these young students
Une tortue marine au centre de l’intérêt de ces jeunes élèves A sea turtle of interest to these young students

For the 2021-2022 school year, the pedagogical service of the Réserve Naturelle has selected subjects in keeping with the scientific service for its in-school activities, for which the two services regularly collaborate. The main subject is that of exotic invasive species, both vegetal and animal, and their impact on biodiversity and ecosystems, and in a larger sense the evolution of life on the planet. Information about these exotic invasive species that have been introduced to Saint Martin includes: where they came from, who introduced them to the island, and their history since the Amerindians. Other subjects range from marine mammals and sea turtles to sharks and ecosystems. The visits are adapted to the level of each class, from kindergarten through high school. Each class has four or five visits from the Réserve Naturelle and the students are asked to create and present a related project at the end of the school year.

Plongée virtuelle à l’école A virtual dive at school
Plongée virtuelle à l’école A virtual dive at school

On November 16, 2021, the Réserve Naturelle had a stand at the Fête de la Science (Science Fair), at the Clair Saint-Maximin elementary school in French Quarter, where two classes have run an educative marine zone since 2018. The anatomical sculptures of marine animals captured the attention of these students, but it was the virtual reality headsets for underwater diving that really hit it out of the park. Planned for the morning, the event lasted throughout the day, so that the students—as well as their teachers–could experience this voyage under the sea, virtual, but oh so real.

Raphaël Dorville
Raphaël Dorville

Raphaël Dorville, a ninth grader at the French Quarter high school who had been a student in the first class for the educative marine zones in 2016—a CM1 class at the Clair Saint-Maximin school— spontaneously asked to do a discovery internship at the Réserve Naturelle, January 24-28, 2022. A demand that was very well received by the Réserve as well as by Jessica Sabas, her former teacher. The internship helps students discover the working world, share the daily tasks done by professionals, and benefit from a tangible experience.

As part of the eleventh call for the funding of initiatives to promote biodiversity in Overseas France, launched in April 2021 by the OFB (French Biodiversity Office) and its partner Te Me Um, two projects presented by the Réserve Naturelle de Saint-Martin were selected.

  • The first, in the “micro-projects” category, will allow students from four fifth grade classes and a sixth grade class to be taught about the management of exotic invasive species. The program comprises five visits by the Réserve in each class, before going on a field trip to observe the exotic and invasive vegetal and animal species, such as the coral vine, the common iguana, the rat, and the giant African snail. The budget of 4,276 euros will be used to purchase cameras, tablets, and GPS devices.
  • The second project, under the “partner” banner, is based on the reappropriation of the natural heritage of Saint Martin by its younger generations, and particularly the two educational marine zone classes at the Clair Saint-Maximin school. These students will learn how to make a diagnosis of the beaches in their marine zone and determine if it is favorable— or not—for egg laying by sea turtles. The grant of 20,000 euros allows for the financing of various tools: workbooks, anatomical sculptures of marine animals, VR masks, videos and virtual dives, t-shirts, and caps.

200 New Workbooks

The workbooks created by the Réserve Naturelle in 2020 were a big hit with young students, and 200 additional copies will be reprinted thanks to 500 euros donated by Skyepharma. The 20 pages in these notebooks outline the elements of the Réserve Naturelle and are intended for fourth and fifth grade classes, in order to educate the kids about the environment and give them an awareness of the management and conservation of the biodiversity of Saint Martin.

Les participants à Sandy Ground The participants at Sandy Ground
Les participants à Sandy Ground The participants at Sandy Ground

Neighborhood Environmental Awareness

At the request of Compagnons Bâtisseurs, the Réserve’s environmental education and awareness service organized two sessions aimed at building awareness amongst the population of Saint Martin, explaining the role and the importance of the Réserve Naturelle and the protection of the island’s ecosystems. Running for two hours, the first session took place in Sandy Ground and the subject matter detailed the ecosystems of Saint Martin and sea turtles. The second such event was for the residents of French Quarter, who also learned about the ecosystems as well as about the important role that the mangroves play in the delicate balance of the marine milieu and the protection of the island. This session was followed by a field trip to Galion, during which Vincent Oliva provided more complete explanations on the subjects that had been discussed. In both neighborhoods, ten of the participants were also able to explore the underwater world of the Réserve Naturelle, by using virtual reality masks.

Who are the Compagnons Bâtisseurs?
For the past 60 years, the Compagnons Bâtisseurs have helped those the most in need with the renovation or construction of their home. Their association, financed by public-private partnerships, set up shop in Saint Martin the day after hurricane Irma hit. To date, close to 200 families in Saint Martin have benefitted from their services, and now enjoy better living conditions more adapted to their needs.
Saint-Martin le paradis retrouvé des tortues - France 3
Saint-Martin le paradis retrouvé des tortues - France 3

The Réserve Teaches La Samanna Clients About Our Natural Heritage

At the request of the luxury hotel, La Samanna, the Réserve Naturelle will go on excursions with clients who want to learn more about the natural heritage of the island. The first excursion took place on December 21, 2021, with a boat tour around the small island of Tintamarre. Julien Chalifour and Vincent Oliva taught the visitors about various activities for the protection of the local biodiversity, especially sea turtles, birds, and sea plant beds in Baie Blanche.

Action CC8 Communicate about the missions and activities of the RNN in the media (Priority 1)

France 3 TV Focuses On The Réserve Naturelle

On November 2, 2021, the 19/20 program on France 3 consecrated 3.42 minutes to the Réserve Naturelle of Saint-Martin, in a reportage titled “Saint-Martin, Paradise Found For Sea Turtles.” After showing pretty images of turtles grazing on sea plants, the primary missions of the Réserve were covered, including shots of Franck Roncuzzi on Galion beach, where he was instructing a class about the importance of our natural heritage. Ashley Daniel and Christophe Joe, at work in the nursery, explained the role of the mangrove, where they have already replanted 5,000 small saplings. Then, Aude Berger explained in detail the scientific monitoring of sea turtles. A look at the Réserve’s regulations closed the segment, from the ban on fishing to the obligation of boats to use moorings and the payment of fees for professionals duly registered with the Réserve Naturelle: measures intended to revitalize the synergy between conservation of our biodiversity and use of the protected natural sites.

Optimizing management means

Sculpture d’une baleine à bosse Sculpture of a humpback whale
Sculpture d’une baleine à bosse Sculpture of a humpback whale

Sculptures Financed By Sponsors

In 2021, AGOA—The Sanctuary for the Protection of Marine Mammals—financed new sculptures for the pedagogical service of the Réserve, who put these animals to good use during their awareness campaigns. A gray dolphin, a sperm whale, an orca, a pilot whale, a juvenile humpback whale, and a Risso’s dolphin have joined the humpback whale, the grouper, and the parrot fish sculptures previously offered by AGOA, as well as the tropicbird, the large bottlenose dolphin (anatomical), and the loggerhead turtle with its embryos and babies, financed in 2019 by the company, Contour Global, owner of the electrical production plant in Saint Martin.

Good news. Contour Global has notified Vincent Oliva, who runs the pedagogical service of the Réserve, that it is willing to continue their collaboration by financing additional pedagogical materials.

The Réserve Partners With EDF

The Réserve Naturelle has signed a new partnership agreement with EDF, which resulted in the purchase of a Kia Picanto for the environmental education and awareness service. This vehicle is greatly appreciated by the staff as it can be used to transport pedagogical materials, such as the sculptures of marine animals. These are used at schools, as well as at open houses, conferences, and other events where the goal is to raise public awareness about the presence of these animals in the surrounding environment.

Obligatory Certification Renewal For The Réserve team
On December 8, Aude Berger, Julien Chalifour, and Vincent Oliva were able to renew their Certificat d’Aptitude à l’Hyperbarie (CAH) during a professional training program in Guadeloupe. This renewal is obligatory for all professional underwater interventions. It allows the staff of the Réserve to maintain moorings, as well as do scientific studies of the marine milieu. Without this certificate, the Réserve Naturelle would have to call upon outside contractors who would bill the Réserve for their services.

Aude Berger et les six guides de France Aude Berger and the six French guides

Charming French Guides !

Anne, Clémence, Elsa, Emma, Marie, and Pauline, fellow scouts and Guides of France from Mont-Saint-Aignan, close to Rouen, were welcomed by the Réserve Naturelle, August 5-17, 2021. Aged 19 and 20, these young women volunteered with a lot of energy, motivation, and good humor to help the management team. They primarily participated in exploratory nocturnal fishing with the BIODIV’OM Life project, and helped with the triage of post-larvae. They patrolled the coast of Tintamarre looking for traces of sea turtles that laid their eggs on the beach, and took part in a study of shore birds at the Salines d’Orient pond. They also led a cleanup effort on the beaches at Grandes Cayes and at Galion, where they also collected mangrove seeds for the nursery run by the Réserve.

Récréafish, A Study About Non-Professional Fishing

The Récréafish study, coordinated by the IFREMER (Research Institute For The Utilization Of The Sea) on behalf of the OFB and managed locally by the Réserve Naturelle, was launched this past summer in Saint Martin and in March 2021 in Saint Barthélemy. A total of 13 non-professional fishermen in Saint Martin and 42 in Saint Barthélemy, who regularly fish from their boats or on the shore, have promised to alert the Réserve when they go fishing and report their eventual catch, even if they come up empty handed, as ‘nothing’ is also of importance. They should also share their costs related to this activity, as well as the destination of what they caught: If they eat the fish; if they give it away’ or even if they sell it. The study is projected to last for one year.

L’étang aux Poissons
L’étang aux Poissons

The History of Tsunamis In The Region

To better understand the history of tsunamis and what causes them: that was the goal of the scientific research led by the BRGM (Bureau of Geological and Mining Research) at the Etang aux Poissons, a protected natural site, from June 23-August 13, 2021. Hosted by the Réserve Naturelle as part of the CARESSE 21 paleoseismology mission, scientists studied the layers of sediment, via sonic seismic prospection with four core samples, in order to identify eventual perturbations on a major scale. The idea was to detect the traces of tsunamis, as these tidal waves are one of the physical responses of the ocean to an earthquake, a hurricane, or volcanic eruption. The BRGM conducted identical experiences in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Antigua, and Barbuda. The results of the experiences at all of these sites will be compared to confirm the date of a past tsunami. These physical phenomena are determining elements to help understand and explain the methods of installation for animal and vegetal species and more specifically the apparition of our endemic species.

Reinforcing local and regional commitment to the Réserve

Technical Committee For Turtles And Iguanas

On November 9, 2021, the scientific department participated via video conference in the annual technical committee meeting of the National Sea Turtle Plan that took place in Guadeloupe—they did not attend due to the pandemic. The committee, coordinated by the ONF, brought together all of the active organizations that are part of the plan in Guadeloupe and Saint Martin, with the Réserve as the local representative in Saint Martin. This event was the perfect occasion for summarize the activities completed throughout the year, and look at the goals for the national plan in 2022, in terms of knowledge, conservation, and awareness. On December 14, the Lesser Antilles iguana was the subject of a discussion by the technical committee —also by video conference— to promote protection of this species, on the IUCN’s critically endangered list and threatened with extinction.

Nicolas Maslach présente le projet de l’ICBI
Nicolas Maslach présente le projet de l’ICBI

The Réserve Naturelle at the World Conservation Congress

Organized every four years by the IUCN, the World Conservation Congress is one of the most important events in support of biodiversity. On September 3-11, 2021 in Marseille, 13,000 organizations and 160 nations participated. Saint Martin was represented by Nicolas Maslach, le director of the Réserve Naturelle, with Pascal Alix Laborde, president of the territorial council’s environmental commission, and Lola Perez, assistant in the office of president Gibbs. The Collectivity and the Réserve worked hand-in-hand to present all of the assets of Saint Martin and its projects. The director of the Réserve made three presenations: the first, in English, was on exotic invasive marine species such as the lionfish (Pterois volitans) and Halophila stipulacea algae, and the Réserve’s efforts to control them. Next, invited by Génération Mer, the “community that fights so that the ocean remains a global assest for humanity,” as part of the environmental awareness and educational activities created by reserves and marine parks, Maslach presented the Réserve’s pedagogical department’s projects, as well as the plans for the Caribbean Institute for insular Biodiversity (ICBI), whose goals include improving knowledge by way of its research and innovation center. That presentation was followed by the signature of the Réserve’s membership to Génération Mer. Finally, Maslash moderated a confernce open to the publc on marine mammals and notably humpback whales.

A Speedy Recovery to Nicolas!
On September, the day before the conference closed, Nicolas Maslach suffered a heart attack, luckily in the presence of a medical team from the marine-firefighers of Marseille, who were able to quickly revive him. Transferred to Saint Joseph Hospital, he was immediately operated on, with success. After a few days of observation, he remained in a rehabilitation center for a month. He is currently on medical leave.

Life Seminar On Réunion Island

On November 15-17, 2021, the Réserve Naturelle of Saint-Martin participated in the first technical BIODIV’OM Life seminar held on Reunion Island, in the Indian Ocean. Thirty participants, all involved in BIODIV’OM Life, worked on two major themes: Important knowledge for the conservation of endemic species; and the fight against exotic invasive species. Aude Berger, director of the BIODIV’OM Life program for the conservation of the Nassau and Atlantic goliath grouper, participated in a recap in which each island in the Life program could talk about the progress made on a local level.

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