Last week the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) was delighted to meet with the Hon Dr Natalio Wheatley, Premier of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), who was accompanied by colleagues from the BVI London Office.
During the meeting, NOC presented a historic account of our long-standing relationship and details of two ongoing marine scientific research projects funded via Darwin Plus, DPLU150 and DPLUS152. Both projects not only support capacity development of local stakeholders but provide data that will be vitally important in support of the BVI’s efforts to manage their marine estate. In parallel these data will be critical in the BVI’s efforts to promote their carbon reduction credentials, providing access to carbon markets and enabling the development of partnerships that support carbon removal initiatives.
NOC lead scientist Dr James Strong presented recently produced outputs from the Darwin Plus projects, which included a harmonised bathymetric surface (merged from both LiDAR and multibeam echosounder surveys), a seabed imagery data set consisting of over 500 historical observations and 340 additional stations visiting during fieldwork in 2022, and some of the recently modelled maps that’ll represent the new Coastal Resource Atlas for the BVI (i.e., full coverage maps for various geomorphological features, habitat and species – DLPU152).
Dr Strong also outlined the structure of a toolbox of Marine Spatial Planning tools (produced in conjunction with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour (BVI), the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (UK) and WSP Global Inc. – DPLU150), that has been calibrated for marine habitats and human activities in the BVI. These tools will allow local policymakers to exploit fully the new Coastal Resource Atlas, quickly draft marine spatial plans and bring about a step-change in marine management capabilities.
Tracy Bradshaw Director and (UK/EU) Representative (Ag.) from the BVI London Office said: “We express our sincere thanks to the NOC Board and scientists for facilitating our visit. The work being done is necessary for both our climate change and environment initiatives, as well as our economy. The Virgin Islands is keen to continue leading in the management of our marine estate and this partnership with the NOC is important to making sure our people are prepared to effectively manage this essential part of our food security and the blue economy.”
NOC would like to thank Dr Wassim Dbouk of the University of Southampton who organised the visit.
Our Partnerships Team
NOC has a dedicated team of specialists in international and government relations and coordinators of UK marine science. Its role is to stimulate collaboration with national and international partners, advocate new approaches to policy and ensure science is at the heart of good policy-making.