Minister for Natural Resources, Vincent Wheatley has said there are plans to make the British Virgin Islands a no-anchoring jurisdiction.
Wheatley announced during a recent live panel discussion that the measure is a step towards helping to preserve coral reefs in the territory.
“We lose a lot of coral when persons drop anchors, and I have evidence here that I got from a few years ago of the damage caused by those anchors. So we have to make the BVI a no-anchoring jurisdiction and that you can only come in on moors,” the minister explained.
“It is easier said than done of course but we are moving towards that in very short order … We are moving towards that as soon as we have the legislation to back us up with that,” he added.
Options to be decided for mega yachts
Wheatley also said a full research study has to be conducted. And once it gets on the way, it will allow for his ministry to properly decide on what measures will be taken for mega yachts.
He said: “Those are the most destructive, actually. Those mega yachts; when they drop their big anchors and their chains begin to swing, they do the most damage. So couple options we could have: special mooring buoys just for those boats, or you must go into a marina. Those are a couple options we can look at.”
Positive impact on natural resources
Wheatley said by preserving the coral reefs, it will have a positive impact on many of the other natural resources in the territory which are reliant on the existence of coral reefs.
“We must work hard now to do what we have to do to preserve our environment for generations and more so when they come they can see starfish, they can see shellfish, they can see turtles, they can see the different birds, they can see red mangroves, white mangroves, black mangroves and everything,” he explained.
In addition to anchors causing damage to coral reefs in the territory, a recent discovery has found that the deadly Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease has made its way to the British Virgin Islands.
The disease — which some experts have now referred to as ‘the coronavirus of the ocean’ due to how quickly it spreads — has been spotted at five popular dive spots located in the southern cays of the territory.
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