|Location||Jamaica, Kingston Parish|
|Central coordinates||78o 33.00' West 17o 8.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4ii, B4i|
|Altitude||2 - 5m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
Ornithological information The Pedro Cays are regionally important seabird nesting and roosting areas. Nesting birds (Southwest Cay Feb. 19981): Magnificent Frigatebirds Fregata magnificens, Brown Boobies Sula leucogaster (approx. 2,000 nests observed, 32% with chicks, 14% with eggs) and Masked Boobies S. dactylatra (approx. 240 nests observed). Other birds: Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus; Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum and American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla. Probably used by other winter migrants as a stopover. On other cays: Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata, Brown Noddy Anous stolidus and Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii (Raffaele 1998: “threatened”).
Site description The Pedro Cays, lying in the Caribbean sea between 16 o 57’ & 17o03' N and 77 o 46' & 77 o51' W, constitute a group of small isolated coralline islands emerging from the southeastern edge of the Pedro Banks. The group consists of four Cays: Northeast Cay, Middle Cay, Southwest Cay and South Cay, and is associated with a number of shallow reefs, rocks and shoals. The group is situated about 97 km southwest of Portland Point on the south coast of Jamaica, the distance from Kingston being about 161 km. All cays are owned by the Government of Jamaica. Fishermen occupy Northeast and Middle Cays. Both regionally and nationally the Pedro Bank is an important commercial, biological and historical area. It represents Jamaica's main commercial and artisanal fishing grounds and serves as the primary harvesting area for the largest export of Queen Conch from the Caribbean region.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens||resident||1997||4,000 individuals||medium||A4ii||Least Concern|
|Masked Booby Sula dactylatra||resident||2006||800-1,000 breeding pairs||medium||A4ii||Least Concern|
|Brown Booby Sula leucogaster||resident||1998||2,000 nests||medium||A4ii||Least Concern|
|Laughing Gull Larus atricilla||breeding||2005||223 individuals||medium||B4i||Least Concern|
|Royal Tern Sterna maxima||breeding||1997||25 adults only||medium||B4i||Least Concern|
|Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus||breeding||1997||1,500-2,000 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata||breeding||2005||4,000-5,000 individuals||medium||B4i||Least Concern|
|Brown Noddy Anous stolidus||breeding||2007||4,500 individuals||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Great Pedro Banks WS/R||Wildlife Sanctuary||0||protected area contains site||0|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: The Pedro Bank is fished for its conch by Jamaica and illegally by other countries especially in South America.|
|nature conservation and research||major|
|Notes: Used as a nesting area by several sea birds.|
Other biodiversity The bank is composed of a variety of marine habitats such as sand, coral reefs, deep reefs, sea grass beds, and coral cays. Because of its size and distance from mainland Jamaica and its relatively intact biological systems, it is one of the country's last remaining healthy marine ecosystems. Southwest Cay is the largest cay, with a topography that is generally flat with a slight depression in the central to south central sections. Most of the coast is calcareous sand grading into gravel or hurricane boulder beach. The vegetation is dominated by the bush shrub, Seaside Lavender Mallotonia gnophalodes, the tufted grass-like Cyperus sp., Pussley Portulaca oleracea and a Sporobulus species of grass. Additionally there are isolated clumps of Scarlet Cordia Cordia sebestena. Also present are mice (Mus musculus), Ghost Crabs (Ocypode sp.) and Hermit Crabs (Coenobita clypeatus). Pedro Bank is important for conch fishing. Several endangered turtle species such as hawksbills and loggerheads nest there. The bank may also be a potential refuge and source of larvae for several regionally-threatened Acropora coral species.
Management considerations The Morant and Pedro Cays Act (1975) makes provision for licensing of all fishing and the taking of turtles, turtle eggs, birds and bird eggs from the Morant and Pedro Cays. Southwest Cay was designated a bird sanctuary in the 1970s, while two cays continue to be used by the fishermen. In July 2004 the bank was declared an underwater cultural heritage site by the Jamaica National Heritage. The Pedro Banks are regularly visited by fishermen from neighbouring territories. The Jamaica Defence Force also operates a security post on Middle Cay. Intensive fishing and high human densities on the Pedro Cays are endangering the survival of the bank as a viable and functioning ecosystem. The Pedro Bank Management Project (TNC) has carried out collection of garbage and cooperates with the Fisheries Department.
References 1 Douglas & Levy. Unpublished.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Pedro Cays and Bank. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/06/2013
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