The LAPE area
The Lesser Antilles Pelagic Ecosystem was defined to approximate the hypothetical EEZs of all the islands from Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts/Nevis in the north to Trinidad in the south, excluding the Gulf of Paria. The total area of the ecosystem thus defined is 610000 km2. The geographical boundaries, though not ecologically meaningful since the region is an open system, represent the area of ocean space for which the countries of the LAPE have responsibility for management of the associated marine living resources. Including area outside of this region would render the implementation of appropriate management policies impractical by the countries of the LAPE region only. However, since few data exist for many of the species within the LAPE area, a 200 nautical mile ‘buffer zone’ around the study area was defined, for which data would be accepted to make inferences about the functional groups in the LAPE.