Tourists and locals who have vessels on the water are being urged not to empty their holding tanks (waste tanks) within 1,000 meters of the shoreline as the waste could further harm coral reefs that continue to be affected by the Stoney Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD).
A statement from the government said dumping is discouraged as SCTLD is caused by unidentified bacteria which could be present in the waste.
Natural resources Minister Vincent Wheatley said the National Parks Trust in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Unite BVI, the Governor’s Office, and the local dive operators have been tackling SCTLD.
However, he said some corals have already died of the disease.
“Aggressive treatment of SCTLD for some areas has allowed the slow or partial recovery of some affected species. Unfortunately, some species are more susceptible than others. As a result, some corals have died. In addition to the aggressive treatment of affected corals, several cartoon scripts have been developed and released as part of the education component of this project,” Minister Wheatley noted in the March 10 sitting of the House of Assembly.
The Minister said these efforts will continue until the end of March 2021.
The BVI’s coral reefs provide the territory with many ecological services on which the BVI is dependent. These include seafood, beaches, coastal protection against erosion and natural disasters, and provides habitats for snorkelling and diving.
According to the National Parks Trust Director Dr Cassander Titley-O’Neal, the BVI’s coral reefs were last evaluated in 2016 by an international body at a value of $194,691,000.
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