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Tropic news. Volume 7. Issue 1.

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Tropic news. Volume 7. Issue 1.
Series Title:
Tropic news
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United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
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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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North America -- United States Virgin Islands
Caribbean

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University of Florida
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Full Text



TROPI1C NEWS


DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL
RESOURCES


October1994


DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE


Volume 7 Number 1


Save Our Sharks
Unfortunately, most people think that the only good
shark is a dead shark. In actuality, these magnificent,
misunderstood creatures are essential to the ocean's
balance. As top predators, they are responsible for
controlling many species offish that would cause imbal-
ances in ocean ecosystems if left unchecked. On land
this can be compared to deer eating all the vegetation in
a forest if not controlled by wolves and other top preda-
tors. So what is the problem?
Since the 1970s, shark populations in the US
Atlantic have suf- fered severe declines due to
overfishing and lack of management.
Some q spe-
cies of large
coastal
sharks may have declined in
number by 75% and will now need 30 years or
more to recover. Why has this happened?
In recent years shark meat has been successfully
marketed as an alternative.to tuna and swordfish. As a
result, US Atlantic shark fisheries expanded rapidly
and commercial catches skyrocketed. Because they grow
slowly, mature late and produce a small number of
young, sharks are particularly prone to overfishing.
Many species, already overfished by sportfishing, soon
became depleted. The Asian market has a high demand
for shark fins which results in many fishermen cutting
off the valuable fins and discarding the oftentimes still
live body. Critical nursery grounds for sharks, where
they mate, give birth and grow up, remain unpro-
tected from fishermen.




The shark species most
at risk from overfishing are the large coastal.
This group includes heavily-fished species such as
sandbar, dusky and blacktip sharks, as well as slow-
moving, filter feeders like whale and basking sharks. So
what can be done?
Catch Fewer Sharks catch quotas for sharks should
be reduced to allow for recovery of their populations.
Protect Pupping Grounds nearshore nursery
grounds where sharks are easily caught when giving
birth need protection.
Stop Finning The cruel and wasteful practice of
finning should be stopped or greatly reduced.
The bottom line is that healthy shark populations are
vital to healthy marine ecosystems.
Parts of this article were taken from an ACTION ALERT
published by the Center for Marine Conservation (10/94).


The Common Ground Dove, Columbina passerina
is very common in the Virgin Islands. This is the small-
est of our doves, having a wing span of only 6-7 inches.
They are usually seen in pairs or small groups on dirt or
infrequently travelled roads eating seeds or berries. It is
generally not found in heavily wooded
areas. This bird is considered the most
widespread of West Indian
birds. It makes its nest in shrub-
bery or on the ground.
Usually two glossy white eggs
are laid per clutch. Breeding occurs
from February to October with a peak from April to
June.

Saving Nature's Legacy

Defenders of Wildlife recently printed an eight page
color flyer which is a condensation of the book "Saving
Nature's Legacy: Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity"
by Reed Noss and Allen Cooperrider. The book has been
called a blueprint for conservation action in that it
discusses the biodiversity crisis and provides essential
guidance for managing public and private lands to
accommodate human use while protecting biodiversity.
The flyer presents some of the key points to illustrate
the biodiversity crisis and discusses actions which may
work to solve it. The Division has a limited number of
copies of this flyer on hand. They are available for
teachers or other interested persons by stopping by our
offices or calling for a copy. Due to supplies, only one
copy will be provided to each request.

QUOTE
"Having to squeeze the last drops of utility out of the
land has the same desperate finality as having to chop
up the furniture to keep warm."


Aldo Leopold


ur __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __.







St. Croix Sportfish Tournaments
The 8th Annual Fishing Lady Classic tournament
was held on St. Croix on September 17, 1994. This event
is a fund raiser for the Women's Coalition of St. Croix.
Despite male captains, the event is restricted to female
anglers. Eleven boats, all greater than 22 feet long, and
44 anglers participated. Twenty six fish were caught
weighing 233.8 pounds. No billfish were caught. Kim-
berly D'Eramo won best angler honors and Mitchell
Watkins had the largest catch (31.4 pound wahoo).
Barracuda were the most common fish caught.
Twelve barracuda were caught of which six weighed 42
pounds with a mean weight of 7.0 pounds. Six additional
barracuda were reported caught but were not submitted
for weighing. Six wahoo were caught totalling 173.0
pounds with a mean weight of 28.8 pounds. Seven
blackfin tuna were caught totalling 14.6 pounds with a
mean weight of 2.1 pounds. One skipjack tuna was
caught weighing 9.8 pounds.
The next St. Croix fishing tournament is the St.
Croix Golden Hook Challenge to be held on October 21
to 23. Results will be given in the next issue.

Fossils for Loan
The Division was recently given a set of fossils by
Mike McAinsh. The fossils are boxed and have a booklet
describing each fossil. The set includes 27 fossils from
the Mississippian Period (350 to 320 million years ago)
to the Miocene Epoch (approx. 15 million years ago).
From trilobites to whale bone, this package was brought
here as a gift to the children of the Virgin Islands by Mr.
McAinsh and The Price Sun-Advocate of Price, Utah.
This fossil set will be available for loan to teachers
and anyone interested in learning about ancient life on
earth. As only one set is available, please call the Divi-
sion and make arrangements for use of it.


STrilobite Ammonite

Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper


More Posters
The Division now has four full-color posters available
for distribution to teachers, students, and interested
public. Posters now available include Deepwater
Gamefish of the V.I., Midwater Gamefish of the V.I.,
Mangrove Habitats of the V.I., and Coral Reef Habitats
of the V.I.
These posters are free! So come by our offices or send
us $2.00 in stamps and we will send you all four posters.
We will also be printing posters on Shallow-water
Gamefish of the V.I., Bottom-dwelling Gamefish of the
V.I., Seagrass Habitats of the V.I., and others.

We Are Not The Only Ones...
... to want to protect our coral reef habitats from
gradual destruction from human activities. Florida has
a 90 mile long shelf edge strip of deepwater coral habi-
tat along the central eastern coast known as the Oculina
Bank. This reef system is comprised of a single species
of colonial coral known as ivory tree coral (Oculina). It
forms massive, contiguous colonies in the deep water
with delicately branched mounds up to five feet high
and hundreds of feet long. This habitat attracts a dense
and diverse population offish which has lead to high
fishing pressure and large amounts of coral destruction
from anchors and various types of fishing gear.
In order to protect this unique habitat, the use of
bottom trawls, bottom longlines, dredges, and fish traps
was prohibited in 1984. At the present time, the South
Atlantic Fisheries Management Council is considering a
total prohibition on anchoring on the Oculina Bank.
This would eliminate continuing coral degradation from
dive boats that use the area.
The protection of our disappearing natural habitats
is vital if we are to maintain the balance of life on this
planet.
II-


I14

d~OrP


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
*****
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
6291 Estate Nazareth 101
St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104
(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


-" '~' I




Full Text

PAGE 1

;: .: r"'" ~ DEP ARThffiNT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION OFFISH AND WILDLIFE October1994 Volume 7 Number 1 Save Our Sharks Unfortunately, most people think that the only good shark is a dead shark. In actuality, these magnificent, misunderstood creatures are essential to the ocean's balance. As top predators, they are responsible for controlling many species offish that would cause imbalances in ocean ecosystems if left unchecked. On land this can be compared to deer eating all the vegetation in a forest ifnot controlled by wolves and other top predators. So what is th~ problem? Since the 1970s, shark populations in the US Atlant. . es due to overfi agement. S 0 m species of large coastal shark eclined in numbe ears or more 0 recover. y as IS appene? In recent years shark meat has been successfully marketed as an alternative to tuna and swordfish. As a result, US Atlantic shark fisheries expanded rapidly and commercial catches skyrocketed. Because they grow slowly, mature late and produce a small number of young, sharks are particularly prone to overfishing. Many species, already overfished by sportfishing, soon became depleted. The Asian market has a high demand for shark fins which results in many fishermen cutting off the valuable fins and discarding the oftentimes still live body. Critical nursery grounds for sharks, where they mate, give birth and grow up, remain un prot e c t e d fro m fishermen. The Common Ground Dove, Columbina passerina , is very common in the Virgin Islands. This is the smallest of our doves, having a wing span of only 6-7 inches. They are usually seen in pairs or small groups on dirt or infrequently travelled roads eating seeds or berries. It is generally not. found in heavily wooded areas. This bird is considered the most widespread of West Indian birds. It makes its nest in shrubbery or on the ground. Usually two glossy white eggs are laid per clutch. . Breeding occurs from February to October with a peak from April to June. Saving Nature's Legacy ': ";~""":"; ~_...~ ,.;, ".-""~ ~ ~.:::~.:'::::,:~ .." ;y~::._,:::,~ "" The shark ':' species most at risk '.. from ovemshing are the large coastals. This group includes heavily-fished species such as sandbar, dusky and blacktip sharks, as well as slowmoving, filter feeders like whale and basking sharks. So what can be done? Catch Fewer Sharks catch quotas for sharks should be reduced to allow for recovery of their populations. Protect Pupping Grounds nearshore nursery grounds where sharks are easily caught when giving birth need protection. ' Stop Finning The cruel and wasteful practice of finning should be stopped or greatly reduced. The bottom line is that healthy shark populations are vital to healthy marine ecosystems. Parts of this article were taken from an ACTION ALERT published by the Center for Marine Conservation (10/94). Defenders of Wildlife recently printed an eight page color flyer which is a condensation of the book "Saving Nature's Legacy: Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity" by Reed N oss and Allen Cooperrider. The book has been called a blueprint for conservation action in that it discusses the biodiversity crisis and provides essential guidance for managing public and private lands to accommodate human use while protecting biodiversity. The flyer presents some of the key points to illustrate the biodiversity crisis and discusses actions which may work to solve it. The Division has a limited number of copies of this flyer on hand. They are available for teachers or other interested persons by stopping by our offices or calling for a copy. Due to supplies, only one copy will be provided to each request. QUOTE "Having to squeeze the 1ast drops of utility out of the 1and has the same desperate fina1ity as having to chop up the furniture to keep warm." Aldo Leopold

PAGE 2

More Posters The Di'Vision now has four full-color posters available for distribution to teachers, students, and interested public. Posters now available include Deepwater Gamefish of the V.I., Midwater Gamefish of the V.I., Mangrove Habitats of the V.I., and Coral Reef Habitats of the V.I. These posters are free! So come by our offices or send us $2.00 in stamps and we will send you all four posters. We will also be printing posters on Shallow-water Gamefish of the V.I., Bottom-dwelling Gamefish of the V.I., Seagrass Habitats of the V.I., and others. St. Croix Sportfish Tournaments The 8th Annual Fishing Lady Classic tournament was held on St. Croix on September 17, 1994. This event is a fund raiser for the Women's Coalition of St. Croix. Despite male captains, the event is restricted to female anglers. Eleven boats, all greater than 22 feet long, and 44 anglers participated. Twenty six fish were caught weighing 233.8 pounds. No billfish were caught. Kimberly D'Eramo won best angler honors and Mitchell Watkins had the largest catch (31.4 pound wahoo). Barracuda were the most common fish caught. Twelve barracuda were caught of which six weighed 42 pounds with a mean weight of 7.0 pounds. Six additional barracuda were reported caught but were not submitted for weighing. Six wahoo were caught totalling 173.0 pounds with a mean weight of 28.8 pounds. Seven blackfin tuna were caught totalling 14.6 pounds with a mean weight of 2.1 pounds. One skipjack tuna was caught weighing 9.8 pounds. The next St. Croix fishing tournament is the St. Croix Golden Hook Challenge to be held on October 21 to 23. Results will be given in the next issue. Fossils for Loan The Division was recently given a set of fossils by Mike McAinsh. The fossils are boxed and have a booklet describing each fossil. The set includes 27 fossils from the Mississippian Period (350 to 320 million years ago) to the Miocene Epoch (approx. 15 million y~ars ago). From trilobites to whale bone, this package was brought here as a gift to the children of the Virgin Islands by Mr. McAinsh and The Price Sun-Advocate of Price, Utah. This fossil set will be available for loan to teachers and anyone interested in learning about ancient life on earth. As only one set is available, please call the Division and make arrangements for use of it. We Are Not The Only Ones... ... to want to protect our coral reef habitats from gradual destruction from human activities. Florida has a 90 mile long shelf edge strip of deepwater coral habitat along the central eastern coast known as the Oculina Bank. This reef system is comprised of a single species of colonial coral known as ivory tree coral (Oculina). It forms massive, contiguous colonies in the deep water with delicately branched mounds up to five feet high and hundreds of feet long. This habitat attracts a dense and diverse population offish which has lead to high fishing pressure and large amounts of coral destruction from anchors and various types of fishing gear. In order to protect this unique habitat, the use of bottom trawls, bottom longlines, dredges, and fish traps was prohibited in 1984. At the present time, the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council is considering a total prohibition on anchoring on the Oculina Bank. This would eliminate continuing coral degradation from dive boats that use the area. The protection of our disappearing natural habitats is vital if we are to maintain the balance of life on this planet. 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~~\S1i&~ ~'rJ ~~ ~~.:~~ ~R.A.1\O~ / Trilobite " "-" Ammonite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper BULK RATE U,S. POSTAGE PAID CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V. PERMIT NO. 35 GOVERNIvlENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES ****** Departinent of Planning and Natural Resource~ Division of Fish and Wildlife 6291 Estate Nazareth 101 St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104 (809)775-6762 (ST.T.), (809)772-1955 (ST.X.) Address C;;orrection Requested