Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Reef damage weakens tourism
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 Material Information
Title: Reef damage weakens tourism
Series Title: Olasee Davis articles
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: April 10, 1992
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00026
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
The Dail News, Friday, April 10,1992

Reef damage weakens tourism

According to a recent report
from the Caribbean cruise ship
industry, from 1981 to 1987 the
number of people who traveled to
the Caribbean on cruise ships
increased to 5.6 million a year ago
from 3.4 million. This number of
cruise ship travelers could increase
to 160 by 1995.
Although the Virgin Islands
economy benefit tremendously
from the tourist industry, there is
something happening under the
ocean that can destroy the industry
- especially since water spots and
pristine ocean views are a big
The coral reef in the Caribbean
ae in trouble. Since the 1970s, reef
destruction caused by anchors from
ships and dive boats has been docu-
mented by scientists. Many of these
ships an enter shallow, environ-
mentally sensitive m and damn-
age ordestroy coal res
What people do not realize is
that when anchors damage reefs,
the refs may never recover. And if
they do, it will be a slow process -
in most cases more than 50 years.
What coral reefs are to the marine
world is what tropical forests are to


Oour uMkmaft

life on land. They support the most
diverse ecosystem in the ocean
Animals from prowling sharks
and glittering Caribbean angelfish
to tube-shaped sea cucumbers and
starfish surround he Virgin Isands
res' living rocklie core made up
the skeletons of millions of dime.
sized marine organisms. These
same tiny marine animals are
important toor economy.
in 1989, Hurricane Hugo dam-
aged and destroyed many corals in
Virgin Islands waters. Reefs also
are damaged by disease and other
natural phenomena. Nature has a
way of healing itself, but there is
another problem. Scientists now
believe that the bleaching form of
death on coal reefs may be related
to the rising water temperatures by

Development has dumped pesti-
cides, sewage soil runoff and oil
spills into the sea. However, the
most severe destruction to coal reef
inthe Virgin Islands are anchors of
cruise ships, divers and smaller
You know, some of us in these
Virgin Islands will never appreciate
what these islands' marie enviro
meant has to offer. We better start
carig or our envonmet or else it
will not be around to enjoy much
loner. To me, the best solution to
the anchor problem i the Virgin
Islands is to provide alternatives to
anchong. This might mean eab-
lishing permanent moorings and
requiring al s ips and boats to use
them so that they do not have to
drop anchor.
To save the Virgin islands coral
ree the public must become pt of
the solution by being more respon-
sible for their suronding environ-
For more information, call the
Department of Planning and Natu-
ral Resources on St. Croix at 772-
1955, on SL Thomas at 7756762.

OlaeeDamis who hold a mas-
ser of scine degree in range aan-
agement and forestry ecoloy, is a
St Croiecooaistandactist

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