Group Title: United States Virgin Islands animal fact sheets
Title: Resource poaching
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00093446/00023
 Material Information
Title: Resource poaching
Series Title: United States Virgin Islands animal fact sheets
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, United States Virgin Islands
Publisher: Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, United States Virgin Islands
Place of Publication: St. Thomas, VI
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00093446
Volume ID: VID00023
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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U.S.V.I. Animal Fact Sheet #23
Resource Poaching


The Department of Planning and Natural Resources
(DPNR) is responsible for the protection, maintenance and
management of our natural and cultural resources.
Department of Planning and Natural Resources is charged
with the task of providing present and future generations
the continued benefits of our natural resources. The
management of our resources becomes more difficult if
people ignore the rules and poach our resources.
Poaching is the illegal removal of natural resources.
Many of our natural resources are finite, that is, there is
only a limited quantity available. To ensure our natural
resources are available for future generations we must
responsibly use them.
Resource managers create regional plans to best
manage each resource. This may include no take and
size limits or catch limits for certain species.
However, it is hard to plan for responsible use of our
resources if people ignore the rules established to
ensure the long term survival of a species and/or the
availability of the resource to not only ourselves but
future generations.
Sea turtles spend almost their entire lives
swimming in the ocean, and have developed special
adaptations to allow them to remain at sea. These
adaptations make sea turtles extremely graceful and
agile while in the water but ungainly on land.
Sea turtles are very susceptible to harassment and
predation on land. While nesting, they are not agile or fast
enough to avoid predators and are unable to pull their
heads and flippers into their shell like tortoises.


Major threats to sea turtles include, but are not limited
to destruction and alteration of nesting and foraging
habitats, incidental capture in commercial and recreational
fisheries, entanglement in marine debris, vessel strikes,
pollution, predation, and poaching. Poaching sea turtles
may be the number one threat in the USVI.
Some threats are beyond our immediate control. These
include natural predation, storms (that may erode their
natural nesting beaches and reduce food by destroying sea
grass beds and decreasing sponge foraging habitats), and
global warming. As resource managers we keep these
threats in mind while we focus on threats that we can
control.
Threats that can be attributed to specific activities are
often the easiest to monitor and regulate. One of the
simplest to pursue is poaching. A few people may even
view poaching as either an acceptable crime, or perhaps not
even a crime. Today's poachers are pillaging our
increasingly rare resources to make a personal profit, often
at our expense.
There is no excuse for someone to poach sea turtles or
their eggs for subsistence as there are many, more
common, resources that are legal to harvest. There is no
part of a sea turtle that will provide medical benefits. It has
repeatedly been demonstrated that sea turtle eggs provide
no more benefit than a chicken egg.
Poaching is a threat that we, the people of the Virgin
Islands, can manage with no impact on our economy. All
sea turtles are protected by Territorial, Federal and
International laws and treaties. These have been instituted
to attempt to rescue threatened and endangered species so


4a







that their populations can increase to a point where they no
longer need protection to sustain their natural population
levels.
There can be no doubt that a person in possession of
sea turtle meat or eggs is in violation of laws regulating
their conservation and protection. A person can not
accidentally butcher a turtle.
Regulations
All species of sea turtles are protected under
Territorial, Federal and International laws and treaties. The
USVI passed the USVI Indigenous and Endangered
Species Act in 1990 (Title 12, Chapter 2). The Act states:
* No person may take, catch, or possess, or attempt to
take, catch or possess, any specimen of an endangered
or threatened species unless such person holds a valid
collecting permit from the Federal Government in the
case of Federally listed species or a Territorial permit
in the case of an exclusively territorially listed species.
No person may ship, transport, or export any specimen
of an endangered or threatened species or parts or
products thereof, whether for sale or not, unless such
person holds a valid Federal permit in the case of a
Federally listed species or a valid Territorial permit in
the case of an exclusively territorial listed species.
No person may harass, injure or kill, or attempt to do
the same, or sell or offer for sale any specimen, or parts
or produce of such specimen, of an endangered or
threatened species.
No person may disturb, damage or remove the nest, or
contents of any nest of any indigenous, or endangered
species.
The Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Title 16
Chapter 35) specifically states that, it is unlawful for any
person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to:
(A) import or export any endangered or threatened species
into or from the United States;
(B) take any endangered or threatened species within the
United States or the territorial sea of the United States;
(C) take any endangered or threatened species upon the
high seas;
(D) possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship, by any
means whatsoever, any endangered or threatened species
taken in violation of subparagraphs (B) and (C);
(E) deliver, receive, carry, transport, or ship in interstate or
foreign commerce, by any means whatsoever and in the
course of a commercial activity, any endangered or
threatened species;
(F) sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce
any endangered or threatened species; (note: The term
"take" means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot,
wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to
engage in any such conduct.)
In 1973 the US signed onto CITES (the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora), which is an international agreement between


Governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade
in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten
their survival. All marine turtles are listed under Appendix
I of CITES, which are the most endangered among CITES-
listed animals and plants. These are threatened with
extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in
specimens of these species.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
* You may not catch sea turtles under ANY
circumstances, without Federal and Territorial permits.
You may not collect sea turtle eggs for any reason,
without Federal and Territorial Permits.
Turtles are easily disoriented by lights. Do not take
flash pictures or shine lights directly toward sea turtles.
Contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife, or our web
site (www.vifishandwildlife.com) for more
information.
Do not allow your pet dogs or cats outside at night,
especially if you live close to a beach. They will attack
and kill nesting turtles and hatchlings.
What you can do to help
1. If you see any turtle nesting or hatching events, please
write down the date, time and location you saw the
turtles, then call the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rescue
network at 877-1TURTLE [877-188-7853] to report
the event.
2. There are specially trained people who may handle sea
turtles for the purposes of research, conservation and
education. Training is offered to interested individuals
and community groups. Contact DFW for more
information.
3. If you see a nesting turtle, do not crowd around it and
do not harass it. You may observe nesting from a
distance. You need to stay behind the front flippers of
the turtle so you don't disturb her. No flash
photography.
4. If you see someone harassing a sea turtle or poaching a
nest, call the local police (911) or the local Division of
Environmental Enforcement STT 340-774-3320,
STX 340-773-5774.
5. For more information on this and other animals in the
Virgin Islands please visit our web site at:
www.vifishandwildlife.com

PRODUCED IN 2005 by W. Coles
THIS PUBLICATION WAS PRODUCED WITH
FUNDS FROM THE NATIONAL FISH AND
WILDLIFE FOUNDATION (NFWF).
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON
OUR NATIVE ANIMALS CONTACT

DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
6291 ESTATE NAZARETH
ST. THOMAS, VI 00802-1118
PHONE 340-775-6762 FAX 340-775-3972
or
45 MARS HILL, ST. CROIX, VI 00840
PHONE 340-772-1955 FAX 340-772-3227




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