The highly productive seas off the Guianas have muddy nutrient rich waters fed by the Amazon and the North flowing rivers of the region. The resulting fisheries represent a substantial and very valuable source of food, employment, income, recreation and foreign exchange for our countries. There is also a wealth of other marine life including significant estuarine dolphin populations, manta rays, whales, whale sharks, and four species of marine turtles. Green and leatherback turtles nest in very large stable numbers on Guianas beaches, making the Guianas a critically important marine turtle nesting area for these species. Olive ridleys have greatly declined since the sixties but are making a comeback in French Guiana.
WWF promotes participatory marine and coastal spatial planning, engaging with multiple stakeholders to build support for sustainable management and preservation of biodiversity, key species, habitats, nurseries, mangroves and spawning aggregation sites. Through our actions we aim to:
- Protect marine turtles, dolphins, sharks and rays and their habitats;
- Reduce bycatch of non-target fishery species including Endangered, Threatened and Protected (ETP) species;
- Improve coastal resilience;
- Encourage mangrove and wildlife eco-tourism;
- Support for implementing sustainable fisheries management plans in Guyana and Suriname;
- Expand Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certification;
- Reduce illegal, unregulated and undocumented (IUU) fishing via a vessel monitoring system and enhance enforcement capacity for government agencies in French Guiana;
- Develop a Marine Spatial Plan for Suriname and Guyana and promote establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).