PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT
The Virgin Islands has lost more than
50% of its mangrove forests, considerable
amounts of its seagrass beds, a number of
saltponds, and many of its coral reefs in the
last 50 years. In an attempt to protect these
habitats from further damage, the
Government of the Virgin Islands has
designated a series of marine reserves and
wildlife sanctuaries on the southern end of St.
Thomas. The three sites include: the Compass
Point Pond Marine Reserve and Wildlife
Sanctuary, the Cas Cay/Mangrove Lagoon
Marine Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary, and
the St. James Marine Reserve and Wildlife
COMPASS POINT POND
(Area A on map)
Saltponds are very important wildlife
feeding and roosting habitats. They are also
important in protecting water quality by
allowing sediment to settle out of runoff from
the land. Compass Point Pond was cut off
from the sea a number of years ago by the
construction of a road. Many of the
mangroves died and wildlife was forced to go
elsewhere. After designation of this pond as a
protected area in 1992, it was reopened to the
sea and natural water levels were restored in
the pond. Almost immediately fish and crabs
populated the pond and shortly afterwards,
many shorebirds were observed feeding and
residing around the pond. With the return to
natural water levels, conditions are now
suitable for reestablishment of mangroves in
CAS CAY/MANGROVE LAGOON
(Area B on map)
Within this area no fishing or take of
any natural resources are allowed with the
exception of baitfish within 50 ft. of the
shoreline of Cas Cay if a permit is obtained
from DPNR. No internal combustion engines
are allowed in the inner lagoon channels.
Elimination of internal combustion engines
from the inner lagoon will stop the damage to
the mangrove root communities that result
from boat wakes and fuel/oil discharges.
Roosting and nesting wildlife will suffer
fewer disturbances from engine noise.
This area is one of the most valuable
areas remaining in the V.I. for juvenile reef
fish, lobster, birds, and wetland plants and
animals in general. By protecting this area
from the harvest of fish and wildlife, we hope
to restore once thriving populations of the
animals found there. This in turn will enhance
populations in neighboring areas as animals
migrate out of the protected area.
ST. JAMES MARINE RESERVE
(Area C on map)
Under the rules and regulations for
this area, it is unlawful to remove any marine
or other wildlife. However, it is legal to catch
fish by hook and line or use a cast net for fry
within 50 feet of the shoreline (except for
Cow and Calf rocks) if a permit is obtained
This area provides protection for a
diversity of interrelated habitats. Mangroves
and seagrass beds provide refuge for juvenile
fish and invertebrates and the coral reefs
support the adults that migrate out to the
nursery habitats. By protecting contiguous,
interrelated habitat, the chances are greater
that habitat management measures will result
in a positive benefit to both the habitat and
the fish and wildlife that utilize and depend
on them for their existence.
The intent of designating marine
reserves and establishing restrictions is
multipurpose. Marine reserves will:
* contribute to commercially viable fishery
resources by protecting a portion of the
spawning stock from exploitation,
* preserve coral reef and seagrass habitats for
larval, juvenile and adult fish and invertebrate
by protecting ecosystem functions; and
* help our economy by providing marine
viewing areas for commercial dive operators,
recreational divers, students of marine life,
and scientific researchers.
T ISH 4*0
Caribbean Fisheries Management Council
provided funds for this publication.
For more information on marine reserves and
wildlife sanctuaries please contact our offices.
Department of Planning
And Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
Bureau of Environmental
6291 Estate Nazareth 101
St. Thomas, VI 00802
45 Mars Hill, Rainbow Plaza
Frederiksted, St.Croix, VI 00840
Marine Reserves and Wildlife Sanctuaries
SA. Inner Mangrove Lagoon: No fishing
Sor take of any natural resources is allowed. No internal
combustion engines are allowed. Electric motors, sails or
SThrat paddles are acceptable. Engines cause wakes, noise, and
"'" ? pollution.
equal distance Compass Point Cabrita Point
between shores Salt Pond B. Cas Cay/Mangrove Lagoon: No
D East End St Thomas Great Bay fishing or take of any natural resources is allowed, except that
Bovoni Cay wr c, use of a cast net for baitfish within 50 feet of the north and west
Shorelines of Cay Cay is allowed only with a permit from DPNR
C. St. James No fishing or take of any natural
Cow & Calf Rocks resources is allowed, except that baitfishing using a cast net
Cas Caya within 50 feet of the shoreline (except for Cow and Calf Rocks)
U e =. P2atricia Ca and fishing by hook and line is allowed only with a permit from
Little DPNR Enforcement (774-3320).
33 ifdepthc r D. Compass Point Salt Pond No
fishing, hunting, or take of any natural resources is allowed
within this marine reserve and wildlife sanctuary.
For A, B, C, and D No take of conch, lobster, and whelk
These areas have been protected for a variety of reasons, all of which will benefit your use and enjoyment of our marine natural resources.
These marine reserves will:
1. Contribute to commercial and recreational fishery resources by protecting a portion of the spawning stock from exploitation.
2. Preserve important coral reef, mangrove, and seagrass habitats for larval, juvenile, and adult fish and invertebrates such as
lobster and conch.
3. Provide coastal and marine viewing and recreation areas for the general public, snorkel and SCUBA divers, school groups,
For more information on these marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, please call the Division of Fish and Wildlife, DPNR, at 775-6762. To
obtain permits or to report violations, please call the Division of Environmental Enforcement at 774-3320. Thank you and enjoy!