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Marine survey being done to develop BVI’s blue economy

Vincent Wheatley

A two-week marine survey is currently being undertaken to assist government with making informed decisions in developing a blue economy for the BVI.

Speaking at a media conference on Wednesday, Natural Resource Minister Vincent Wheatley said this measure is a step in the right direction for the territory.

“This survey is going to inform how best to use these waters going forward … Everyone would say ‘let’s go ban the catching of turtles’. But there is actually no evidence for this to suggest what we should do with turtles. It also extends to November which is Lobster Fest. Persons would say ‘ban the catching of lobsters — you’re catching too many lobsters’ but there is no evidence to suggest that. This exercise is going to help us inform those kinds of decisions as far as our environment is concerned,” the minister said.

He added: “There are also lots of things like ghost traps on the ocean bottom that are killing fish after fish. This survey is going to help us find some, if not all of them so we can make a decision on what is the best material to make traps from.”

Wheatley further said government is trying to move to an ‘exclusive economic zone’.

He did not expound on what an exclusive economic zone means but said, “to get that category, you must know what it is you are going to manage and explore and you must demonstrate the capacity to monitor and control that space.  Something as simple as shipwrecks, there are dozens of shipwrecks around here which can be used for commercial purposes once you know where they are, the depth of water, what’s in and around them and so forth.”

In the meantime, it is said the ongoing survey will be able to provide actual maps of the underwater habitats that comprise the Virgin Islands.

The marine survey is a partnership between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) which provided the funding in the sum of $145,000, the Recovery and Development Agency which is responsible for managing the funds, the National Oceanography Centre, and the Ministry of Natural Resource and Labour.

The survey ends on Friday July 5.

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12 Comments

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  1. Michael Helm says:

    Really very good news. Sustainable lobster catching can very easilybeestablished. Take no lobsters with a carapace of less than “X” inches. Restaurnts to refuse to buy them. Penaltires all round. It would only take a few fines, after one warning, to get everyone involved. Down Island, I can’t remember which one, a no fishing santuary was established in the main breeding grounds. Every fisherman was up in arms. Three or four years later, when fish stocks had significantly recovered in other areas, every fisherman had become an enforcer! Education is a very necessary element. Caution: TheXenphobic attitude shown recently will almost certainly emerge, suppressing these actions. “I barn here, nobody tell me where I can fish”.
    It’s up to the agencies to get out and educate before legislating, and not just the week before either.

    Like 17
    • PROBLEMS says:

      I couldn’t agree more
      There are plenty of fishermen here who I know personally would take the smallest lobster out of selfishness and greed because he feel if he don’t take someone else will. Take dont think about tomorrow when the no more because they didn’t leave them to grow and replenish the stock.

    • true says:

      1 1/2lb and at least 3 1/2″ Carapace with Nov1st till July31st is already in place to protect Lobster, it needs to be enforced.

  2. Inspector Gadget says:

    Go, go, go, go!

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  3. CW says:

    Looks like this administration is going in the right direction. Keep up the good work! Only BVI can save BVI…

  4. Jambo says:

    It’s great to see the UK supporting the BVI and providing the resources needed.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  5. Jack says:

    Sport Fishing boats from Red Hook are fishing in BVI waters all summer. If a record breaking marlin is caught 2 miles off Anegada, do you think the BVI will be mentioned? However, we make it so difficult for USVI boats to come and fish here that they do so illegally. They leave Red Hook at 4/5am and have lines in by daybreak. I don’t know what the answer is, but this is a revenue maker for the BVI which we are not utilizing. Perhaps a system where boats can get their licenses, and clear in prior to entering the territorial waters. I don’t have the answer I’m afraid. Maybe Vincent has an idea. Hope so.

    • 2CENT says:

      My boy Jack you on top the hill man !! for years this has been going on. we the BVI has some the best fishing grounds in the world within 5 mins or running off shore we into fishing grounds. every where else is 1.2 hour and more before lines can be in. USVI tournaments been out of red hook live on the area known as the North drop in BVI waters home to huge game fish. We don’t have patrol boats etc so until we get some we can not stop illegal fishing. But what they can possibly do in get involved with it so we also benefit from it and get our fair share.

  6. Protectionism=Survival says:

    If we do not protect and grow our resources today and onwards, we will pay with devastating consequences tomorrow.

    Sure many legislators before have thought about this. Delightfully, it brings renewed hope to many that it is now being acted upon legislatively.

    As, protection of our resurces for coming generations is critical to our survival and sustained progress.

  7. Biggie says:

    Will this study that we are paying for be made public?

    Transparency will help us in continuing to support this administration.

  8. Deh Watcha says:

    It is a shame what happened to the HLSCC Marine Studies Centre. It would be perfect for things like this.

    I wonder what they did/doing with all that expensive equipment that was purchased? Is any of it being used at all?

  9. hit the nail on the head says:

    Any discovery of sunken treasure should be pursued and become a part of the heritage displays at botanic gardens and museums.

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