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Ile du Grand-Connétable National Nature Reserve
Réserve Naturelle Nationale de l'Ile du Grand-Connétable

france

First Listed

2020

Area
78.52km2

Why is it Green Listed?

Emerging about 15 kilometres from the mouth of the Approuague River, Île du Grand-Connétable is surprising for its unique silhouette and the myriad of frigate birds hovering. Its current morphology has been shaped by man and today represents a sanctuary for seabirds and marine biodiversity.

The island is a tree-less rock that hosts thousands of pairs of terns, noddis, frigatebirds and gulls every year. Only colonies of seabirds between the Brazilian Nordeste and the Venezuelan Orinoco delta, the closest colonies are located on the island of Tobago and the archipelago of Fernando do Noronha, respectively 1,200 km and 2,400 km from the Grand Connétable.

Key Achievements

Conservation

On the 3 issues: seabirds (royal tern, Cayenne tern, Laughing Gull, superb frigatebird, brown noddy, sooty tern), rocky marine habitats and pelagic habitat on a soft bottom, the RN generally achieves its objectives. Bird numbers remain at high levels.


Good governance

  • Inclusive management advisory committee and integration into marine environment commissions and meetings
  • Reduction of the fishing pressure in the reserve thanks to the collaboration with the action of the State at Sea and the Regional Fisheries Committee.

Community benefits

  • Site visits by a tourist operator, nature outings for some schoolchildren and participatory science activities for the general public
  • Beneficial effect of the reserve on the protection of fish stocks, for the benefit of professional and recreational fishermen

Site Attributes

WDPA ID

Size
78.52km2

Designation(s)
Réserve naturelle nationale

IUCN Category
IV

Year Established
1992

Marine Protected Area
Yes

Marine Area
78

Area of no-take
100%

Governance Type
Collaborative governance

Site Agency
Groupe d'Etude et de Protection des Oiseaux en Guyane (GEPOG)

Site Manager
Amandine Bordin

Application
10.09.19

EAGL Evaluation
03.03.20

GL Committee Submission
01.09.20

EAGL Chair
Jean-Philippe Siblet

ASI Reviewer
Mounia Essefiani

Site Summary

The National Nature Reserve of the Ile du Grand-Connétable is located in French Guiana on the South American continent. Emerging about 15 kilometres from the mouth of the Approuague River, Île du Grand-Connétable is surprising for its unique silhouette and the myriad of frigate birds hovering. Its current morphology has been shaped by man and today represents a sanctuary for seabirds and marine biodiversity.

The island is a tree-less rock that hosts thousands of pairs of terns, noddis, frigatebirds and gulls every year. Only colonies of seabirds between the Brazilian Nordeste and the Venezuelan Orinoco delta, the closest colonies are located on the island of Tobago and the archipelago of Fernando do Noronha, respectively 1,200 km and 2,400 km from the Grand Connétable. Petit-Connétable does not host nesting colony, but plays an important functional role in serving as a resting place for birds and particularly shorebirds (small waders, such as sandpipers and knights, highly migratory, emblematic of the world’s coastlines) who find refuge there at high tide.

On the sea side, the Reserve is home to emblematic species such as the Goliath Grouper, the Sotalia Dolphin or the Green Turtle, but also fish species representative of the shallow waters of the Guyanese coasts.

This exceptional situation led to its classification as a National Nature Reserve in 1992, the first in French Guiana. To date, the Grand Contable Island Nature Reserve is the only functional marine protected area on the Amazon coast and the second largest marine nature reserve in the French Overseas Territories.

The Grand Connétable Island Nature Reserve covers 7852 hectares. It is managed by the NGO Groupe d’Etude et de Protection des Oiseaux en Guyane (GEPOG).

1. NATURAL VALUES
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Seabirds: Reproduction monitoring magnificent frigatebird, royal terns, cayenne terns, laughing gull, brown noddies, sooty terns by counting nests, pairs and estimating reproductive success. Counts carried out during the breeding seasons.
Observe the trends vis-à-vis previous years. Monitoring has existed for these species for more than 25 years and shows that the protection of this island has allowed the establishment and / or regular attendance of many seabirds.
2019 numbers: 1,822 pairs of frigatebirds: upward trend since 2008 (around 400 pairs) 1165 pairs of royal terns and 6128 pairs of Cayenne terns after a slight decrease in 2018. 1400 pairs of laughing gulls: stable. 150 noddies nests: stable. 20 pairs of sooty terns: stable.
The status of seabird populations is considered good. Numbers increasing for the frigatebirds and relatively stable for the other colonies. Good breeding success in 2019. The fight against rats must be maintained because the reproductive success of some colonies had been affected in 2018.
Rocky marine habitats: Monitoring the giant grouper population with scientific fisheries Monitoring by photo-identification of the juvenile green turtle population Study of the benthos by visual observations and samples Monitoring of water quality by taking water samples every two months.
Compare the annual catches and recaptures of groupers and the sizes of individuals to estimate demographic trends. Compare the photos taken of young green turtles to estimate site fidelity between months, seasons, years. Inventory the benthic species of the bedrock and follow their evolution. Analyse the samples to assess the quality of the water according to the criteria established by the Water Framework Directive.
Record fishing in October 2018 with 51 groupers caught in the reserve. Few recaptures of already tagged groupers. 12 turtles identified in 2019 including 4 reviews in 2020 A list of benthic species is available, some of which are still being identified. Water analyses provided by the Office de l'Eau.
Slight reduction in the size of groupers but high catch rate. Presence of a population of juvenile groupers, the site is part of a more complex whole. Turtles take advantage of the food attached to the rocks to feed and grow. Loyalty to the site noted. Water quality deemed satisfactory.
Pelagic habitat on soft bottom: Followed by photo-identification and acoustics of the dolphin population of Guyana Monitoring of larval ichthyofauna Study of feeding birds Water quality monitoring
Analyse photos and acoustic recordings to assess the presence of dolphins and their fidelity to the site as well as the connection with other sectors. Capture larvae to assess diversity and abundance. Use telemetry to identify bird feeding sites and identify prey. Analyse the samples to assess the quality of the water according to the criteria established by the Water Framework Directive.
250 dolphins in the catalog (reserve and functional area). Trade confirmed between the Ilets de Rémire and the reserve. 21 species of fish (larval stage) recorded in 2015 at the reserve dominated by the Gobiidae family. New sampling in 2020. GPS beacons deployed on 10 noddis. Travel over 20km on average, sometimes 100km. Identification of privileged sectors for food. Water analyses provided by the Office de l'Eau.
The sector is a preferred site for dolphins, and work must continue. Number of species of larvae similar to that observed on other rocky sites consistent with environmental parameters and distance from the coast. Long distance movement of the noddis, connectivity with the Battures du Constable. Water quality deemed satisfactory.
2. ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUES
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Fishery resources: Evaluate the reserve effect for fish stocks and implement actions to preserve / manage them
None
Consultation on the management of the giant grouper with professional fishermen and boaters (interviews, workshops, definition of management measures). Multilingual brochure intended for professional fishermen with the notion of the reserve effect, reminder of the regulations. Inventory of ichthyofauna.
Data being acquired, upcoming results. Good stakeholder participation.
Touristic activities: Promote the reserve while supervising tourist activities.
The reserve is known to the general public.
1 tourist operator carries around 1000 passengers per year. A charter incorporating best practices is signed between the operator and the reserve.
Stable attendance.
3. CULTURAL VALUES
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
None identified
N/A
N/A
N/A

Conservation Summary

Unanimous support and consensus. 9 votes.


EAGL summary statement:

The governance of the site is operational and participatory insofar as it establishes the governance bodies required by legislation, namely the management advisory committee and the local scientific council. The Grand Connétable reserve has been the subject of three management plans, the last of which, instituted over a 10-year period, is based on the new methodology of management plans (dashboard).

The nature reserve is regularly monitored and adapted to the seabirds populations that frequent the island and offers effective indicators for these monitoring, as well as for the monitoring of the surrounding marine habitats.

The main threats and their evolution are controlled and taken into account in management plans. The EAGL considers that the coordination with the various police services at sea and with the regional fisheries committee to fight against illegal fishing in the nature reserve is quite remarkable.

The seabirds populations are larger than ever and the EAGL acknowledges the effectiveness of the management actions are part of this success. Some indicators of the state of habitats and populations need to be consolidated during the current management plan, and these performances may therefore soon be scientifically documented. Finally, the compliance of the regional fisheries committee with the various management measures, and the respect by Guyanese professional fishermen of the limits of the reserve are all evidences of the achievement of indicators relating to cultural values. However, those indicators will deserve to be refined.

Reviewer statement

The Reviewer validates the GL process of the Réserve Naturelle Nationale de l’Ile du Grand-Connétable as being in compliance with the rules and procedures of the GL User Manual. The site visit was conducted on February 8, 2020 and the site visit schedule was approved by the Reviewer prior to the visit. The site’s mentor and the site manager attended the EAGL meeting on March 3, 2020 and gave a presentation on the site and self-assessment against the Standard Indicators. The Reviewer did not attend this part of the meeting but was provided with the full recording of the session and confirms the discussion and voting process were in line with the User Manual. All relevant documentation and information are available and complete in COMPASS except for the site visit report (for confidentiality reasons) that will be made available to the GL Committee. This report and other documents were shared with all EAGL members and the reviewer prior to the EAGL meeting. The assessment, MoV, the site visit report and visiting member’s feedback during the meeting confirmed the site’s high-level performance against the GL standard and at the end of the discussion, the EAGL voted unanimously for the nomination of the site for the GL, without conditions.

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