A section of Long Bay on Beef Island is to become a Protected Area and Marine Park.
The National Parks Act of 2006 defines a national/marine park as a legally protected natural area of land or sea containing major natural features, scenery, wildlife or habitats that are not materially altered by human occupation or exploitation. This area, under law, is to be perpetually maintained with conservation and management objectives.
The Ministry of Natural Resources made the announcement about naming part of Long Bay as a protected area on Monday.
The public will be invited to provide feedback on how to maintain the protected area. The ministry is seeking feedback in three key areas — Conservation, Economic Development and Education & Community Engagement.
“The goals under Education and Community Engagement are to improve understanding of the life-supporting processes and other benefits provided by natural ecosystems by preserving natural ecosystems and providing opportunities for ecological and other scientific research. Another goal is to demonstrate that protected areas generate improved livelihoods and other social benefits for local communities,” the ministry explained.
It added: “In the area of Economic Development, the goals are to expand and diversify the role of the natural resource base in the economy of the Virgin Islands by improving and sustaining the livelihoods of residents, by protecting and increasing their earning capacity. The ministry will also be seeking to protect the supply and quality of the natural resources that support economic activities and promote resource harvesting and land management practices that maintain the integrity of the natural resource base.”
Meanwhile, the goals of conservation are to preserve the ‘natural and historical heritage’ and ‘protect natural areas that are important for the production of important species of plants and animals’, the ministry said.
The section of Long Bay which will become a protected area has not been specified.
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