Our 2011 field season officially started today! With the arrival of our new volunteers we’ll be trained up and out surveying by tomorrow. For the next 2 weeks we are based out of the Caribbean Marine Research Center on Lee Stocking Island (LSI), which is managed by the Perry Institute for Marine Science. The island is now hosting several projects including ours, so we’re looking forward to sharing some camaraderie with fellow scientists and students. Over the duration of our stay here on LSI, we’ll keep this blog updated on our activities in the field. Stay tuned for posts from our team and maybe some guest posts from other groups!
Last night was really special. We were able to hold a small meeting of fishermen at an appropriately named bar, The Fishermen’s Inn, in Barra Terre. Barra Terre and others nearby settlements are home to some of the most serious fishermen on Exuma. They have relied on the conching grounds near LSI where we will be doing our surveys for generations. Our discussions were lively, and we were glad to have the opportunity to talk to those who really have the most experience out on the water and really know the resource. They voiced concern about the state of the conch fishery in their back yard and in The Bahamas, and shared valuable insights and advice about what should be done to save it. We also learned about some pretty interesting conch behaviors that don’t seem to be documented in the scientific literature. Our next research project perhaps?