Marine resources for fishing, shipping and marine-based tourism, are very important to the people of the Grenadine Islands. A greater understanding of oceanic ecosystems, including the quantity of resources, number of users and patterns of space-use, is critical to planning for their sustainable development and conservation.
The Grenada Bank (which includes both Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines) is the site of the Marine Resource Space-use Information System (MarSIS), a Participatory Geographical Information System (PGIS) adapted for the marine realm. This unique information system integrates a variety of social, economic and environmental information (drawn from both scientific and local knowledge) to provide a more complete information base for coastal marine planning and management.
A high level of stakeholder engagement provides useful information and creates a strong sense of ownership in the information produced, increases understanding within and between stakeholder groups and validates the critical role of stakeholder participation in research and governance.
MarSIS, alongside the development of a transboundary marine multi-use zoning plan, strengthened conservation efforts and sustainable livelihood initiatives in the two countries. In addition it enabled the application of the Grenadine Islands for designation as a transboundary UNESCO marine mixed (cultural/ ecological) World Heritage Site (WHS). Achieving a WHS designation would provide the two countries international status, inspire ecotourism and provide further legitimacy for endeavours to protect the environment and culture of the Grenadine Islands.