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Tropic news. Vol. 4. No. 7.

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Title:
Tropic news. Vol. 4. No. 7.
Series Title:
Tropic news
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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.
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English

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Caribbean ( LCSH )
Newspapers -- Caribbean ( LCSH )
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serial ( sobekcm )
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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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TROPIC NEWS


DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL
RESOURCES


DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE


Volume 4 Number 7


WHO CARES ABOUT MANGROVES?
Why should we care about some smelly trees that
trap lots of garbage and take up valuable shoreline
which could be used as marinas? There are actually
many good reasons, some of which may indirectly affect
each and every one of us.
To begin with, mangroves are trees that are adapted
to live in soil often flooded by water. In the V.I. we have
three species of mangroves; red, black and white, each
adapted to a. different amount of salt and water they can
live in. Red mangroves actually live in seawater, with
their roots supporting the trees over the water. Black
mangroves live behind them in saturated soils where
the trees "breath" using roots that project out of the soil
like snorkels (also called pneumatophores). White man-
groves are found landward of the black mangroves and
are often found growing around low salinity saltponds.
All of these trees play vital roles in reef fish produc-
tion, keeping our waters clean, maintaining the health
of other nearshore habitats and protecting our shore-
lines from erosion.
The red mangrove roots are extremely important in
providing refuge for juvenile coral reef fish. Nearly
every fish we see on the coral reef spent some portion of
its life history in the mangroves where it found refuge
from predation and nutrient rich food sources. By
destroying this nursery habitat we threaten the exis-
tence of our reef fisheries. These roots also trap sedi-
ment washed from our hillsides during heavy rainfall.
This keeps our ocean water clear and protects our reefs
and seagrass beds. The leaf litter and debris that fall
into the roots decay and serve as a nutrient source for
other nearby marine habitats and the basis for many
marine food chains. Red mangroves also form islands
where many species of wildlife can roost or nest, safe
from predation by rats or mongoose.
Black mangrove pneumatophores are important in
filtering sediment from runoff and keeping our waters
clear. It is also believed that these structures may
remove chemicals from the water and prevent them
from reaching the sea, thus reducing pollution.
By losing our mangroves we are losing wildlife
habitat, our fisheries, protection for our reefs and
seagrasses and many other values that affect us all.
Other countries have lost theirs through lack of fore-
sight and proper management. Let us here in the Virgin
Islands show care and understanding of the value of
mangroves and work together to protect and enhance
them. Our future depends on it!


I I~~ ~L


The sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, is a popular sportfish
sought by fishermen for its fighting abilities. This fish is
caught using a variety of lures and live bait from November to
March with the peak season in December and January.
Remember, this species is not allowed to be caught except with
rod and reel and may not be landed if less than 57 inches
(from tip of lower jaw to fork of tail). It is primarily caught
beyond the shelf edge at the surface over deep water.
This species is highly migratory, with individuals probably
ranging over large portions of the Atlantic Ocean. Sailfish are
believed to feed on a variety of fishes, crustaceans (crabs and
shrimp) and cephalopods (squid, etc.).

LEAST TERNS ARE HERE
Least Terns have returned to St. Croix for their
annual nesting. The smallest species of tern, they spend
the winter feeding at sea in the Caribbean and Atlantic
and return to St. Croix every April where they engage in
aerial courtship prior to nesting. Egg laying begins in
early May and continues into July. Incubation is around
23 days with the chicks flying about 20 days later. The
birds nest on dry pond beds, beaches and at Hess Oil
near the storage tanks; open areas safe from predation.
The US population of this species is protected under
the Endangered Species Act. Locally, they are protected
under the Indigenous Species Act. Disturbing the birds
can result in egg or chick mortality when the parents
leave to defend the nest. Anyone seen taking eggs or
harassing the birds should be reported to DPNR En-
forcement at 773-5774 or the Division at 772-1955.


> VIRGIN ISLANDS FOOD CHAINS

> WHAT IS A SALTPOND?


> LEATHERBACK NEWS


April 1992







AQUATIC ECOLOGY
No one is an island, nor is any species of animal an
island unto itself. That is the basic concept of ecology
which says the world is made up of ecosystems.
Ecosystems are complex networks (webs) of interre-
lated and interdependent animals, plants and the world
they live in. Each such ecosystem achieves a balance
and anything that affects one component of the system
will generally affect all or most of the system, upsetting
its balance.
Examples of aquatic ecosystems in the Virgin Islands
are mangroves, coral reefs, seagrasses and saltponds.
While these can be considered discrete systems, they too
are interrelated and interdependent in many ways. All
ecosystems have biotic, or living elements, and abiotic,
or nonliving, elements.
The biotic elements are generally either producers
(plants) or consumers (animals). Producers manufacture
food by photosynthesis. Here, producers can range from
terrestrial plants like mangroves to marine algae,
seagrasses and phytoplankton (single-celled drifting
plants). Consumers are animals which can feed on
plants (primary consumers or herbivores), animals
(secondary consumers or carnivores) or both (omni-
vores).
Lower level consumers and producers begin the food
chain/web by using outside energy that from the sun.
In the ocean, these would include phytoplankton and
zooplankton (tiny drifting animals). These are eaten in
turn by small reef fish, invertebrates such as sponges
and sea fans and the larvae of many ocean animals.
Many of these animals are then eaten in turn by larger
and larger fish and finally by sharks or Man.

The intent of this and coming articles on ecologically
related concepts is to expand your knowledge and
understanding of the world around us. Please let us
know if there is some particular issue you want covered.

+weee, tvcz+ v 41 r v @ 4ecltwe
~9+$99~~~~~~+8~~~~~~~I


GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
OF THE UNITED 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.)


SPORTFISHING LOGBOOK
One of the ways to be a complete fisherman is to log
or record your catch. The Division of Fish and Wildlife is
producing a free sportfishing logbook made of water-
proof paper. If you fish recreationally and would like to
receive one, please call the Division. In return we only
ask that you share your catch records with us regularly.
This enables us to do our job of monitoring the status
and health ofV.I. fisheries.
The books should be available by late July but if you
are interested in trying out the forms now, please call
and let us know.

NEW EMPLOYEE
The Division is pleased to welcome Jimmy Hunt as
our new Environmental Specialist Trainee. Jimmy was
born in England and raised in Wash., D.C.. He has a BS
in Biology from George Mason Univ. in Fairfax, VA and
a Certificate in Environmental Management with a
background in cartography. He has lived on St. Thomas
for 2 years working for Aqua Action and MV Pirate's
Penny. Jimmy is also a PADI Open Water Instructor.




The earth has been rotating in space for several
billion years now. Yet it has been said that if the whole
history of our planet could be condensed into one calen-
dar year, man would not appear until 10:30pm on
December 31. Isn't it strange that on the basis of such
limited experience we have decided that the future is
ours?
Steve Van Matre, 1990
999++9*************9**9**$$89


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.


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


Address Correction Requested


~16~B~I~Piaa~IBlllb~llllll~ ,~__~_


~---------------------- ~ ,,


~p- II - -- -


c~H"~c
6,
I;




Full Text

PAGE 1

TJR(o)]P JIC DEP ART1v1ENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE April 1992 Volume 4 Number 7 The sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, is a popular sportfish sought by fishermen for its fighting abilities. This fish is caught using a variety of lures and live bait from November to March with the peak season in December and January. Remember, this species is not allowed to be caught except with rod and reel and may not be landed if less than 57 inches (from tip of lower jaw to fork of tail). It is primarily caught beyond the shelf edge at the surface over deep water. This species is highly migratory, with individuals probably ranging over large portions of the Atlantic Ocean. Sailfish are believed to feed on a variety of fishes, crustaceans (crabs and shrimp) and cephalopods (squid, etc.). LEAST TERNS ARE HERE Least Terns have returned to St. Croix for their annual nesting. The smallest species of tern, they spend the Winter feeding at sea in the Caribbean and Atlantic and return to St. Croix every April where they engage in aerial courtship prior to nesting. Egg laying begins in early May and continues into July. Incubation is around 23 days with the chicks flying about 20 days later. The birds nest on dry pond beds, beaches and at Hess Oil near the storage tanks; open areas safe from predation. The US population of this species is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Locally, they are protected under the Indigenous Species Act. Disturbing the birds can result in egg or chick mortality when the parents leave to defend the nest. Anyone seen taking eggs or harassing the birds should be reported to DPNR Enforcement at 773-5774 or the Division at 772-1955. WHO CARES ABOUT MANGROVES? Why should we care about some smelly trees that trap lots of garbage and take up valuable shoreline which could be used as marinas? There are actually many good reasons, some of which may indirectly affect each and everyone of us. To begin with, mangroves are trees that are adapted to live in soil often flooded by water. In the V.I. we have three species of filaiigruVe:i; red, black and whitec, each adapted to a different amount of salt and water they can live in. Red mangroves actually live in seawater, with their roots supporting the trees over the water. Black mangroves live behind them in saturated soils where the trees "breath" using roots that project out of the soil like snorkels (also called pneumatophores). White mangroves are found landward of the black mangroves and are often found growing around low salinity saltponds. All of these trees play vital roles in reef fish production, keeping our waters clean, maintaining the health of other nearshore habitats and protecting our shorelines from erosion. The red mangrove roots are extremely important in providing refuge for juvenile coral reef fish. Nearly every fish we see on the coral reef spent some portion of its life history in the mangroves where it found refuge from predation and nutrient rich food sources. By destroying this nursery habitat we threaten the existence of our reef fisheries. These roots also trap sediment washed from our hillsides during heavy rainfall. This keeps our ocean water clear and protects our reefs and seagrass beds. The leaf litter and debris that fall into the roots decay and serve as a nutrient source for other nearby marine habitats and the basis for many marine food chains. Red mangroves also form islands where many species of wildlife can roost or nest, safe from predation by rats or mongoose. Black mangrove. pneumatophores are important in fIltering sediment from runoff and keeping our waters cl~ar. It is also believed that these structures may remove chemicals from the water and prevent them from reaching the sea, thus reducing pollution. By losing our mangroves we are losing wildlife habitat, our fisheries, protection for our reefs and seagrasses and many other values that affect us all. Other countries have lost theirs through lack offoresight and proper management. Let us here in the Virgin Islands show care and understanding of the value of mangroves and work together to protect and enhance them. Our future depends on it! >VIRGIN ISLANDS FOOD CHAINS >WHATISASALTPOND? LEATHERBACK NEWS >

PAGE 2

SPORTFISHING LOGBOOK One of the ways to be a complete fisherman is to log or record your catch. The Division of Fish and Wildlife is producing a free sportfishing logbook made of waterproof paper. If you fish recreationally and would like to receive one, please call the Division. In return we only ask that you share your catch records with us regularly. This enables us to do our job of monitoring the status and health of V.I. fisheries. The books should be available by late July but if you are interested in trying out the forms now, please call and let us know. AQUATIC ECOLOGY No one is an island, nor is any species of animal an island unto itself. That is the basic concept of ecology which says the world is made up of ecosystems. Ecosystems are complex networks (webs) of in terrelated and interdependent animals, plants and the world they live in. Each such ecosystem achieves a balance and anything that affects one component of the system ",'ill generally affect all or most of the system, upsetting its balance. Examples of aquatic ecosystems in the Virgin Islands are mangroves, coral reefs, seagrassesand saltponds. While these can be considered discrete systems, they too are interrelated and interdependent in many ways. AIl ecosystems have biotic, or living elements, and abiotic, or nonliving, elements. The biotic elements are ~enerally eithp,r pr(')ill]~Rr... (plants) or CUll~tilnerS (animals). Producers manufacture food by photosynthesis. Here, produc~rs can rang~ from terrestrial plantSc like mangroves to marine algae, seagrasses and phytoplankton (single-celled drifting plants). Consumers are animals which can feed on . plants (primary consumers or herbivores), animals (secondary consumers or carnivores) or both (omnivores). Lower level consumers and producers begin the food chain/web by using outside energy that from the sun~ In the ocean, these would include phytoplankton and zooplankton (tiny drifting animals). These are ea:ten in turn by small reef fish, invertebrates such as sponges and sea fans and the larvae of many ocean animals. Many of these animals are then eaten in turn by larger and larger fish and finally by sharks or Man. NEW E:MPLOYEE The Division is pleased to welcome Jimmy Hunt as our new Environmental Specialist Trainee. Jimmy was born in England and raised in Wash., D,C.. He haR a BR in Biology fron1 Geurgt: Ma~()ll Ulliv. ill Fain.ax. VA and a Certificate in Environmental Management with a background in cartography. He has lived on St. Thomas for 2 years working for Aqua Action and MY Pirate's Penny. Jimmy is aJso a PADiOpenWater Instructor. ~7Z£{JI~ The earth has been rotating in space for several billion years now. Yet it has been said that if the whole history of our planet could be condensed into one calendar year, man would not appear until10:30pm on December 31. I$n't it strange that on the basis of such limitedexperienc~ we have decided that the future is ours? Steve Van Matre, 1990 ~sfl&~. This newsletter was funded by the US 1"~ ~ M' Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and . Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean i Fishery Management Council and the Govenlment of the VI. The intent of this and coming articles on ecologically related concepts is to expand your knowledge and understanding of the world around us. Please let us know if there is some particular issue you want covered. ~ -we,u, ~~ ~ 1'.-u;.~ or;. ~cIed ~ BULK RATE u.s. POSTAGE PAID CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V.I. 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 CST.X.) Address Correction Requested