Citation
Tropic news. Vol. 3. No. 11.

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Title:
Tropic news. Vol. 3. No. 11.
Series Title:
Tropic news
Creator:
United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Publisher:
United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Publication Date:
Language:
English

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Subjects / Keywords:
Caribbean ( LCSH )
Newspapers -- Caribbean ( LCSH )
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serial ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States Virgin Islands
Caribbean

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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TROPhC HWtS


DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE


RESOURCES


August 1991


Volume 3 Number 11


BABY BOAS BORN !!!

A St. Thomas Tree Boa in captivity at the Toledo
Ohio Zoo recently gave birth to six baby boas. These
Federally Endangered species were collected on St.
Thomas and are part of a captive breeding program at
the Zoo. The goal of the program is to return and release
boas on some of the Government owned offshore cays in
the hopes of preserving the species. The species is
currently facing local extinction from habitat loss and
modification on St. Thomas' East End. These snakes are
harmless to humans and feed on lizards and small mice.

SALT RIVER MANGROVE STUDY

Work continues by Division personnel to determine
the importance of mangroves as fish and crustacea
nursery areas in the Salt River estuary on St. Croix.
Results after six months of trap and release studies (288
traps hauled) have resulted in a total catch of 1,367 fish
and invertebrates. Of this total, 41% were fish and 59%
were invertebrates (crabs and lobsters). The most
important fish species caught were juvenile snappers,
mojarras and grunts.
Visual census surveys also document the importance
of mangroves in providing critical habitat for numerous
species of reef fish during the early stages of their life.
Maintaining mangrove estuaries in pristine condition is
essential to the well-being of the inshore commercial
fisheries.

WEST END SALT POND

A one year study has been undertaken as a coopera-
tive effort between the Division of Fish and Wildlife and
the Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service to determine the parameters affecting the
dynamics of the West End salt pond on St. Croix. West
End salt pond is a 150 acre pond located partially within
the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge.
Water quality parameters of the pond, including
temperature, salinity, pond level fluctuations and
dissolved oxygen levels are determined monthly at
several pond locations. Pond flora and fauna will also be
surveyed along with bathymetric profiles of pond depth.
Plant species fringing the pond will be identified and
habitat types mapped. Bird activity at the pond will also
be censused.


I __________________________________________________________


K.L Ot 1995
The Queen Conch, Strombus gigas, is the largest of the
Caribbean conchs. Eggs are laid in sand during the summer
months We first see conch after about one year of being
buried in the sand (approx. 4 inches in length). The lip starts
to form at about 3 years of age and this signals sexual matur-
ity. Conchs live about 6 or 7 years and the lip becomes very
worn with age ("bullet" conch). Although a conch lays many
eggs, only a few actually survive to maturity. Through over-
fishing our conch populations are very low. Unless enough
conch are left in the sea to mate and produce new conch, all
conch will disappear from our oceans. In the V.I., through a 5
year ban on taking conch (St. Thomas/St. John), size and bag
limits and closed seasons (St. Croix), we hope for recovery.

FLYINGFISH/NEEDLEFISH SURVEY

Projects have been initiated on St. Croix to study the
biology of the flyingfish and needlefish and their impor-
tance as baitfish resources for recreational pelagic
sportfishes. Data will be collected on the seasonality,
abundance, size distribution, food habits, reproductive
condition and predator/prey relationship offlyingfish
and needlefish around St. Croix. This information will
be used to assess the condition of these stocks and
explore possibilities of stock management for enhance-
ment of recreational pelagic fisheries.


COMING SOON


> MANGROVE BROCHURE
> AIRPORT DISPLAYS
> ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
CURRICULA







ST. CROIX LEAST TERNS

The Least Tern nesting season is coming to a close on
St. Croix. The greatest number of nesting birde were
found in the Hess Oil facility (-198). Most of the birds
nest on the ground around storage tanks, but some nest
in parking lots and in the industrial waste disposal
areas. An estimated 373 breeding pairs laid a total of
approximately 850 eggs. However, of these, only 197
chicks are known to have fledged (flown from the nest).
The estimated 23% success rate is disturbingly low.
We do know that some of the egg loss is from the
weather. A colony of nests at West End Saltpond was
flooded bya heavy rain in May. Another colony, at Long
Point, was lost when strong south winds and spring
tides combined to breach the beach berm and flood the
colony. The colony at Mt. Fancy was destroyed by one or
two off-road vehicles driving on the pond bed. The
abandonment of entire colonies for one reason or an-
other is responsible for roughly 50% of the egg/chick loss
this year.
Other egg/chick loss is probably due mostly to preda-
tion. Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons,
Red-tailed Hawks, rats, mongooses, dogs, cats and
people are all potential predators. Please remember that
killing or disturbing of our seabirds is illegal under the
V.I. Indigenous and Endangered Species Act.
MARLIN STUDIES

For the past month the Division of Fish and Wildlife
has been attempting to tag blue marlin with sonic
transmitters to determine if tagged and released blue
marlin survive at least 48 hours. So far, our attempts
have been unsuccessful. Few fish have been caught, and
those have been on boats not carrying biologists working
on this project. There have also been some mechanical
boat problems. However, we intend to continue with the
project until several marlin have been tagged.

Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper


SALT RIVER TERRITORIAL PARK

The Virgin Islands Government has moved one step
closer to establishing Salt River as a Territorial Park.
Congressional Representative Ron DeLugo has proposed
legislation to the U.S. Senate for the acquisition of land
surrounding Salt River estuary to be used to establish a
Territorial Park to be managed jointly by the U.S.
Department of the Interior (National Park Service) and
the Virgin Islands Government. This legislation would
preserve the historical, cultural, scientific and ecological
integrity of the Salt River estuary for all Virgin Island-
ers, both present and future.

ICHTHYOPLANKTON SAMPLING

Six, two day (all night) sampling surveys have been
conducted off the north coast ot St. Crolx to collect data
on currents and ichthyoplankton (fish larvae drifting in
the ocean) by the Division of Fish and Wildlife and re-
searchers from Stoney Brook University, New York. The
results from this study will help us understand the
types and abundance offish larvae around St. Croix and
the importance of ocean currents for fish dispersal.


QUOTE
The reasonable man adapts himself to the
world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the
world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends
on the unreasonable man.
George Bernard Shaw
+9@$@@+++++++++++++++++++++++


This newsletter was funded by the US
Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and
Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean
Fishery Management Council and the
Government of the VI.


GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
OF THE UNITED STATES
k***.**
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
101 Estate Nazareth
St. Thomas, USVI 00802
(809)775-6762 (ST.T.), (809)772-1955 (ST.X.)


BULK RATE
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V.
PERMIT NO. 35


Address Correction Requested


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Full Text

PAGE 1

ITS cr:~lT)) DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION OF FISH AND Wll..DLIFE August 1991 Volume 3 Number 11 BABY BOAS BORN I!! ~--{~~-~~ A~-' "Y I I ( I ( A St. Thomas Tree Boa in captivity "at the Toledo Ohio Zoo recently gave birth to six baby boas. These Federally Endangered species were collected on St. Thomas and are part of a captive breeding program at the Zoo. The goal of the program is to return and release boas on some of the Government owned offshore cays in Lh~ hopes of preserving the species. The species is currently facing local extinction from habitat loss and modification on St. Thomas' East End. These snakes are harmless to humans and feed on lizards and small mice. K. SALT RIVER MANGROVE STUDY The Queen Conch, Strombus gigas, is the largest of the Caribbean conchs. Eggs are laid in sand during the summer months. We first see conch after about one year of being buried in the sand (approx. 4 inches in length). The lip starts to form at about 3 years of age and this signals sexual maturity. Conchs live about 6 or 7 years and the lip becomes very worn with age ("bullet" conch). Although a conch lays many eggs, only a few actually survive to maturity. Through overfishing our conch populations are very low. Unless enough conch are left in the sea to mate and produce new conch, all conch will disappear from our oceans. In the V.I., through a 5 year ban on taking conch (St. Thomas/St. John), size and bag limits and closed seasons (St. Croix), we hope for recovery. Work continues by Division personnel to determine the importance of mangroves as fish and crustacea nursery areas in the Salt River estuary on St. Croix. Results after six months of trap and release studies (288 traps hauled) have resulted in a total catch of 1,367 fish and invertebrates. Of this total, 41% were fish and 59% were invertebrates (crabs and lobsters). The most important fish species caught were juvenile snappers, mojarras and grunts. Visual census surveys also document the importance of mangroves in providing critical habitat for numerous species of reef fish during the early stages of their life. Maintaining mangrove estuaries in pristine condition is essential to the well-being of the inshore commercial fisheries. FLYINGFISH/NEEDLEFISH SURVEY Projects have been initiated on St. Croix to study the biology of the flyingfish and needlefish and their importance as baitfish resources for recreational pelagic sporlfishes. Data will be collected on the seasonality, abundance, size distribution, food habits, reproductive condition and predator/prey relationship offlyingfish and needlefish around St. Croix. This information will be used to assess the condition of these stocks and explore possibilities of stock management for enhancement of recreational pelagic fisheries. WEST END SALT POND SOON >MANGROVE BROCHURE >AIRPORT DISPLAYS >ENVIRON:M:ENTAL EDUCATION CURRICULA A one year study has been undertaken as a cooperative effort between the Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine the parameters affecting the dynamics of the West End salt pond on St. Croix. West End salt pond is a 150 acre pond located partially within the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge. Water quality parameters of the pond, including temperature, salinity, pond level fluctuations and dissolved oxygen levels are determined monthly at several pond locations. Pond flora and fauna will also be surVeyed along with bathymetric profiles ofpopd depth. Plant species fringing the pond will be identified and habitat types mapped. Bird activity at the pond will also be censused. -l-Q' In~

PAGE 2

SALT RIVER TERRITORIAL PARK ST. CROIX LEAST TERNS The Virgin Islands Government has moved one step closer to establishing Salt River as a Territorial Park. Congressional Representative Ron DeLugo has proposed legislation to the U.S. Senate for the aquisition of land surrounding Salt River estuary to be used to establish a Territorial Park to be managed jointly by the U.S. Department of the Interior (National Park Service) and the Virgin Islands Government. This legislation would preserve the historical, cultural, scientific and ecological integrity of the Salt River estuary for all Virgin Islanders, both present and future. ICHTHYOPLANKTON SAMPLING Six, two day (all night) sampling surveys have been conducted off the north coast ot St. CroIX to col1ect data on currents and ichthyoplankton (fish larvae drifting in the ocean) by the Division of Fish and Wildlife and researchers from Stoney Brook University, New York. The results from this study will help us understand the types and abundance offish larvae around St. Croix and the importance of ocean currents for fish dispersal. QUOTE The Least Tern nesting season is coming to a close on St. Croix. The greatest number of nesting birde were found in the Hess Oil facility (-198). Most of the birds nest on the ground around ~torage tanks, but some nest in parking lots and in the industrial waste disposal areas.. An estimated 373 breeding pairs laid a total of approximately 850 eggs. However, of these, only 197 chicks are known to have fledged (flown from the nest). The estimated 23% success rate is disturbingly low. We do know that some of the egg loss is from the weather. A colony of nests at West End Saltpond was flooded by,a heavy rain in May. Another colony, at Long Point, was lost when strong south winds and spring tides combined to breach the beach berm and flood the colony. The colony at Mt. Fancy was destroyed by one or two off-road vehicles driving on the pond bed. The abandonment of entire colonies for one reason or another is reponsible for roughly 50% of the egg/chick loss this year. Other egg/chick loss is probably due mostly to predation. Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, Red-tailed Hawks, rats, mongooses, dogs, cats and people are all potential predators. Please remember that killing or disturbing of our seabirds is illegal under the V.I. Indigenous and Endangered Species Act. MARLJNSTUDffiS The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. George Bernard Shaw ~\Sll & ~ This newsletter was funded by the US h ~ ~ Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and p /XfI;) ~ Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean ~)~(J 1'71 Fishery Management Council and the ~ 0':;;:' Government of the VI. '-# .fbRA.'{~ For the past month the Division ofFish and Wildlife has been attempting to tag blue marlin with sonic transmitters to determine if tagged and released blue marlin survive at least 48 hours. So far, our attempts have been unsuccessful. Few fish have been caught, and those have been on boats not carrying biologists working on this project. There have also been some mechanical boat problems. However, we intend to continue with the project until several marlin have been tagged. Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper BULK RATE U.S.POSTAGEPAID CHARLOTTE AMALIE. V PERMIT NO~ 35 GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNrrED STATES ****** Department of Planning and Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife 101 Estate Nazareth St. Thomas. USVI 00802 (809)775-6762 (ST.T.), (809)772-1955 (ST.X.) Address Correction Requested