|Coral Reef Crime Scene Investigation
On the 2nd – 6th June 2008, the Center for Marine Sciences Marine Laboratory near Kingston, Jamaica, hosted a national Coral Reef CSI workshop to train personnel in field investigative, forensic, and rapid ecological assessment techniques.
18 participants attended from around the country, representing a wide variety of institutions from government and non-governmental organisations including natural resource managers, enforcement officers, marine police, military, planners, academics and NGOs.
Funding, logistics and support were provided by the Jamaican National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). NEPA received the field toolkit that was used for demonstrations in the workshop, to help them form their own national coral reef enforcement and investigative team.
Participants received over 36 hours of instruction and field work involving various aspects of underwater natural resource injury investigation including investigation initiation, pre-assessment, impact assessment, rapid ecological assessment, evidence collection and……
Each underwater field activity was preceded by land based practice sessions. Following the workshop, NEPA received the various field gear kit elements to help them form their own response team.
An Evaluation three months after the workshop already highlighted application of skills learnt during the workshop in the field. Some of the team members have used aspects of the skills they have been taught in investigations associated with the impact on marine areas as a consequence of development. Plans are afoot to plan a session during first quarter of 2009 to bring the participants back together and formalise the teams. There are currently two informal teams that are used in the event of an incident.