Ilet Loup Garou in Martinique

What are the regulations for the protected islets and nature reserves of Martinique?

It may not seem like it, but there are nearly 50 islets - 48 to be exact! - that bathe in Martinique's waters. Can you see yourself landing or even staying there like Robinson Crusoe? Not so fast, because some of these islets are protected by a biotope protection decree or have the status of a national nature reserve. We explain what these regulations are and how to behave on your next boat trip in Martinique. 

Which islets are protected in Martinique? 

Whether on the Caribbean coast or on the Atlantic coast, countless small pieces of land emerge from Martinique's waters and invite you to take a stroll. You will inevitably see these islets during a boat trip or even from the mainland. The famous Diamant rock, for example? It is an islet! 

Before dropping anchor and disembarking on a protected islet, let's see what the different islets of Martinique are and what their protection status is: 

  • In Precheur 
    • La Perle islet, which can be seen from the beautiful black sand beach of Anse Couleuvre 
  • In Trois-Ilets
    • The trio of îlet Charles, îlet Sixtain and îlet Tébloux, which gave their name to the town of Trois-Ilets 
    • Petit îlet 
    • Gros îlet 
    • L'îlet à Ramiers, located opposite the beach of Anse à l'âne, protected by a biotope protection order
  • At the Diamond
    • The Diamond Rock, a superb diving spot, protected by a biotope protection order 
    • The Céron islet
  • At the Sailor's
    • Islet Duquesnay
    • Baude Island
    • Petit îlet Duprey
  • In Sainte-Anne
    • The Table du Diable, an imposing block of volcanic rock, and the Cabrits islet, topped by a lighthouse, which are located in front of Anse à Prunes, a few minutes from the beach of Les Salines
    • The Toiroux islet, the aigrettes islet and the Burgaux, Poirier, Percé and Hardy islets (all 4 classified as a National Nature Reserve), at the level of Anse Trabaud on the trace of the capes 
    • Chevalier Islet, Rat Islet and Dog Islet on the Cap Chevalier and Anse Michel sides 
  • In Vauclin
    • Petite Grenade islet, close to the beautiful Trou Cochon beach
  • In François
    • The Frégate islet, protected by a biotope protection order
    • The îlet Long, protected by a biotope protection order
    • Pele Island
    • Islet Métrente
    • The Thierry and Oscar islets, protected by a biotope protection order, which surround the Josephine bathtub, a shallow area in which you can splash around in the open sea
    • The Lavigne islet, protected by a biotope protection order
    • Lapins Island
  • In Robert
    • L'îlet Madame, protected by a biotope protection order. With a pontoon, it is ideal for picnics, a short walk along the path and swimming.
    • The Boisseau islet, protected by a biotope protection order
    • The Loup Garou islet, a small sandbank in the middle of the sea, protected by a biotope protection order
    • The Chancel islet and its colony of Lesser Antillean iguanas, which is the largest islet in Martinique, protected by a biotope protection order
    • The Petite Martinique islet, protected by a biotope protection order
    • Petit Vincent islet, linked to the coast by a mangrove, protected by a biotope protection order
    • La Grotte islet, protected by a biotope protection order
    • Petit Piton islet
    • The water island 
  • In Trinidad
    • Around the Caravelle peninsula, classified as a national nature reserve: the Galion islet, the Trésor islet, the Caravelle Rock, the Lapin islet, the Tartane islet
  • In Sainte-Marie 
    • Saint-Aubin islet
    • The Sainte-Marie islet, protected by a biotope protection decree, which has a Tombolo allowing dry crossing of the sea at certain times of the year!

What is the regulation of the protected islets of Martinique? 

The islets of Martinique are therefore protected by two statutes, thebiotope protection order and the national nature reserve

What is a biotope protection order? 

The aim of a biotope protection order is to conserve the habitat of protected animal or plant species. The aim is to limit human activity in order to allow wild species to feed, reproduce and rest in the area in question. 

Can we visit an islet protected by a biotope protection order? 

It is difficult to answer yes or no. The regulations linked to a biotope protection order are in fact not fixed and differ according to the territory considered. 

The Loup Garou islet, for example, can only be visited outside the breeding season of the Sanderling and Minuscule sandpipers and the Ruddy Turnstone, migratory birds that stay on the islet from September to December. Do not rejoice too quickly because outside this period, the authorised activity on the islet remains very limited: construction, waste disposal, extraction and removal of plants, noise pollution, hunting, overflight, camping and fire are prohibited! It is also important to know that it is very difficult to land there because of the waves and currents. The best thing to do is to admire it from afar 😉

Îlet Loup-Garou, Baie du Robert.

The islet Chancel, where you can discover the Lesser Antillean iguanas (an endemic species), basking on the branches of mangroves and other mancenilla trees, as well as the ruins of an old sugar factory, is also protected, but can be visited all year round as long as you do not leave the authorised areas. The calm waters around the island make it easy to drop anchor, as long as you avoid the sea grass of course!

Access to the Diamond Rock is completely forbidden in order to protect its bird population. If you are unable to visit it by land, you can discover its exceptional seabed and in particular its impressive underwater fault by diving or snorkelling. 

What is a national nature reserve? 

A nature reserve is, like an area protected by a biotope decree, an area preserved to protect its biodiversity and ecosystems. However, nature reserves are much more regulated. Quite simply, access to them is strictly forbidden. Even when sailing, it is compulsory to keep a good distance from the islets, 50 metres from the shore to be precise. 

In Martinique, there are two groups of islets with national nature reserve status, the Caravelle peninsula nature reserve, managed by the Martinique Regional Nature Park (PNRM) and the Sainte-Anne islets nature reserve, managed jointly by the PNRM and theNational Forestry Office (ONF). These two areas are real reserves of biodiversity in terms of flora and fauna, and in particular birdlife... to be observed from a distance, as you will have understood. 

You now know everything about the protected islets of Martinique. Good discoveries and good navigation! 

Article written by : Axelle DORVILLE

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