Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are located at the Southern end of the Lesser Antilles.
These islands are ringed by barrier, patch and fringing reefs. Seagrass beds and mangrove wetlands thrive in coastal areas. They are home to numerous species of sea birds and migratory birds. Species of birds found only on this chain of islands include the Lesser Antillean tanager, whistling warbler, Grenada flycatcher and St. Vincent parrot.
Scientists hypothesize that the Grenadines are at the beginning of a current that circulates throughout the Caribbean. They are studying the possibility that the area is a "nursery" for fish, corals and reef organisms that migrate to the Grenadines from the coastlines of South America, Central America and the Greater Antilles.
Overfishing, inappropriate development and overuse of the area by tourists are primary threats to the islands' mainland, coasts and marine areas.
The Conservancy is new to this area of the Lesser Antilles. It is working with local partners to survey all of the Grenadines, identify threats and conservation strategies, and map priority sites in need of protection. Part of the plan includes developing and managing a system of marine protected areas.
Sandy Island Oyster Bay Marine Protected Area, designed with the support of the Conservancy, was officially launched by Grenada in July 2010. The new reserve is one of three new marine protected areas the country will launch within the next few weeks to help improve the management of the country’s marine resources. An article from the Jamaica Gleaner reported that Grenada recently sent marine protected fisheries officers to Dominica to Soufriere Scott's Head Marine Reserve, to see firsthand how the reserve functions. Lessons learned at Soufriere, one of two marine areas in the Eastern Caribbean with legislated local area management authority, will be applied at the new marine protected areas. These new reserves contribute to Grenada’s Caribbean Challenge commitment to protect 20 percent of its marine and terrestrial resources by 2020. Read full news story in the Jamaica Observer.