Our partners in the UK Overseas Territories

As well as our work in the UK, we have a team focused on the Caribbean UK Overseas Territories: Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Working closely with our local partners, we’ve tagged turtles to monitor their population growth and behaviour that has resulted in improved fishery management. And while fisheries are still a focus, our key aim now is on collectively improving the management of Marine Protected Areas to benefit wildlife and communities which rely upon well-protected seas for wellbeing and to support the economy. We work closely alongside local communities to find solutions that are locally-relevant and widely supported.

Our UKOT Conservation Officer Amdeep Sanghera said: “We’ve been working with Caribbean scientists and marine conservationists for close to two decades now, so it’s fantastic to be taking part in #BlackinMarineScience week, highlighting and crediting our amazing colleagues in this region.”

As part of Black in Marine Science Week we want to highlight some of the amazing people that are working in the marine sphere in the Caribbean UK Overseas Territories.

Argel Horton | British Virgin Islands | Marine Biologist at Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, BVI Government

Argel Horton, BVI Marine Biologist

How did you get into the marine field?

From a young age I had a passion for the sea and the environment. This was due to the many adventures I had with my father (a captain and a fisherman), who took me out to sea and shared his knowledge about ocean life. I was mesmerised with all its wonders and it led me to pursue academic studies related to the environment.

What is your current role?

I manage a wide range of environmental matters at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration I manage a wide range of environmental matters. This includes environmental monitoring of the BVI’s biodiversity, the execution of environmental educational awareness and the management of alien invasive species and legislative reforms, just to name a few.

What do you love about it?

My job is not stagnant and I love it. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others and seeing their eyes light up when I tell them about the environment. This inspires me to continue to do my best to preserve these natural resources.

I enjoy the ability to constantly learn. One of my most memorable moments was when I did an ocean exploration mission aboard the Nautilus research vessel. Scientists were conducting research at the sea mounts within the BVI’s territorial waters. They collected geological, biological and chemical water samples and mapped the area with multibeam bathymetry. I saw and learned about deep sea corals and the fauna that resides along the summits of the sea mounts.

What are you hoping to achieve in your work in the BVI?

I am hoping for a better environment for all. I think we need to have a fair and equitable balance where we can develop with greener technologies and incorporate best practices in the way we live to reduce our impacts on the environment and species.

Kafi Gumbs | Anguilla | Director of Fisheries & Marine Resources Unit, Government of Anguilla

Kafi Gumbs - Director of Fisheries Anguilla

How did you get into the marine field?

I was born and raised in Anguilla, British West Indies. From a very tender age I was interested in science. As a child my grandfather and grandmother were both fishers. They played a major role in raising me and introduced me to the sea, fish and fishing. As a teen, I enrolled in a job training program and signed up to be placed at the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources - more than 20 years later I am still here!

What is your current role?

I have been the Director of Fisheries since 2014, leading a dynamic team in achieving coastal resilience, species protection and public education. I am a strong believer in education and stewardship being the most effective tools for environmental protection.

Carencia Rouse | Anguilla | Director of Environment- Department of Natural Resources, Government of Anguilla

Carencia Rouse - Anguilla Director of Environment - Crop

How did you get into the marine field?

As a child I fell in love with nature and decided that I must actively participate in the lifelong work of protecting the value and integrity of natural resources.

Describe the work you do on a day-to-day basis

  1. Work with likeminded colleagues to brainstorm and execute nature, climate change and ecosystem-based projects in Anguilla
  2. Collaborate with regional and international natural resource agencies to establish and share best practices in conservation and environmental governance
  3. Develop creative ways of filling knowledge gaps in environmental awareness and promote the need for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

What do you love about it?

It is fulfilling to be involved in work which responds to the universal threat of climate change which has multigenerational implications. I am a part of a movement that is bigger than me.

What are the challenges?

It is often a struggle to get stakeholders to commit to the behavioural change that is necessary in this field of work. For example, most people can agree that pollution is a key environmental issue, but they are not as enthusiastic about committing to recycling, reusing and reducing.

Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve in your work in Anguilla?

I hope that my work will contribute to the positioning of Anguilla as a poster child for environmental stewardship amongst Small Island Developing States (SIDS).