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Tropic news. Volume 7. Issue 5.

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Title:
Tropic news. Volume 7. Issue 5.
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.
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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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Full Text

lJ JK UII iNLW
"DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
RESOURCES


February 1995


Volume 7 Number 5


Protecting Our Environment
In the last issue we discussed the Compass Point
Pond as a step forward in protecting our environment
through establishment of marine reserves and wildlife
sanctuaries. In this issue we will look at the recently
established Cas Cay/Mangrove Lagoon Marine Reserve
and Wildlife Sanctuary.
This area was designated by DPNR and Rules and
Regulations were approved by the Governor. The
area includes all water and wetland vegeta-
tion within a line from
Long Pt. to eastern Cas
Cay and then .- I, I to Cocculus
Rks., NE f .". Bovoni Cay
to Turpentine '~i Run and then
following the mean high
tide line 7 around the
shoreline L. back to Long
Point. ia e
Within this '- area, no fishing or
take of any natural resources are allowed with the
exception ofbaitfish near Cas Cay. No long term moor-
ing will be allowed after July 1996. No internal combus-
tion engines will be allowed in the inner lagoon chan-
nels.
This area is considered to be one of the most valuable
areas remaining in the V.I. for juvenile reef fish, wildlife
roosting and nesting, and general wetland habitat. By
protecting these resources from any take, we hope to
restore once thriving populations of the animals found
there. This in turn will affect nearby areas through
migration of animals out of the protected area.
Elimination of long term moorings will aid in reduc-
tion of nutrients and toxic substances being released
into the waters of this area. Elimination of internal
combustion engines from the inner lagoon will stop the
damage to the mangrove root communities which re-
sults from boat wakes and fuel/oil discharges. Roosting
and nesting wildlife will also suffer less disturbance
from engine noises. Bottom communities will stop
suffering damage from propellers operating in the
shallow waters of the inner lagoon. Vessels powered by
sail, paddles, electricity, etc. will enjoy greater recre-
ational use of this area.
The intent of this designation and all the regulations
is not only to protect the area for benefits to its biologi-
cal resources but also to provide a location for people to
experience a natural setting and enjoy being part of it.
The establishment of this protected area will not be
complete until the Turpentine Run sewage treatment
plant is removed to Long Pt. and the liquid runoff from
the landfill is contained or treated. Now that this area is
protected under V.I. law, pressure can be exerted in the
appropriate places for these changes to come about.


The Masked Booby
Most people here in the V.I. realize that we have
seabirds called boobies. What most people do
not realize is that we have three
species of boobies. The most common Br
booby in the territory is the Brown
Booby (Sula leucogaster ). It is
recognized by its overall brown
color and white belly in adults. .,
We also have the'Red-Footed
Booby (S. sula ) which is the least
S-. common booby in our waters.
S.-_ This species is characterized by
an all white tail. It is the only booby
Fooh ere that nests in trees. As its name
indicates, this bird has red feet.
The Masked Booby (S. dactylatra ), also
called the Blue-faced Booby, is distinguished
from the Red-footed Booby by its dark brown tail and
larger body size. The dark color of the flight feathers
make these important feathers more resistant to wear.
The long, tapered wings and cigar
shaped body make these birds
efficient, long distance -- 'i -
fliers and excellent divers. -
Masked Boobies have been seen
diving from up to 100m above
the water.
The Masked Booby nests Ma
on the ground and lays 1 to 2
bluish, chalky looking eggs in a
shallow scrape near a cliff edge.
These birds feed primarily on fish
and squid which they catch by plunge diving.
In the U.S. and British V.I., the only nesting colony
of Masked Boobies is on Sula and Cockroach Cay off the
northwestern end of St. Thomas. Annually, about 50
pairs of Masked Boobies nest here.
The Division has attempted to establish a new
nesting colony on Frenchcap Island and increase their
numbers in the V.I. by taking their first laid egg on
Cockroach and allowing it to be incubated and raised by
Brown Boobies on Frenchcap. We have recently had two
successful Masked Booby nests on Frenchcap that may
be from early (1981 1985) translocated eggs.

QUOTE
"The more we know of other forms of life, the more
we enjoy and respect ourselves... Humanity is exalted
not because we are so far above other living creatures,
but because knowing them well elevates the very con-
cept of life."


Edward O. Wilso


I I









Shark Tag Return
While fishing 20 miles south of St. Croix, commercial
fisherman Jose Sanchez hooked and landed a 200 pound
blue shark last April (1994). The shark had been caught
before, as evidenced by a small tag in its dorsal muscu-
lature bearing a NOAA, National Marine Fisheries
Service, Northeast Fisheries Center address from
Narragansett, Rhode Island.
The Division forwarded the tag to the Narragansett
laboratory and recently learned that the female blue
shark, weighing approximately 100 pounds, was first
caught off the coast of Rhode Island on August 15, 1992.
The shark had travelled at least 1,560 miles from the
site where it had been tagged and doubled its weight
since August 15, 1992.
The blue shark, Prionace glauca, belongs to the
family of sharks called Carcharhinidae or requiem
sharks. Members of this family also include the tiger
shark, whitetip reef shark, blacktip shark, and
lemon shark. Blue sharks are a pelagic, or



open-ocean,
species, occurringin i temperate and
tropical seas world- wide. With streamlined bodies
and pointed snouts, they are capable of travelling
at sustained speeds of more than 20 miles per hour.
New Poster
The next poster in our series of Virgin Islands
gamefish posters is available. This next poster is en-
titled Shallow Water Gamefish of the V.I. It depicts
species of gamefish caught in shallow waters near
mangroves and over seagrass beds and coral reefs. With
a similar format to our other gamefish posters, this will
also be useful for people wanting to learn about the fish
in our waters. This, and our other posters are available
by sending $2.50 in stamps for mailing costs.

Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper


Turtle Strandings 1994
During 1994 we had more sea turtles show up dead
(strand) in the Virgin Islands than in any previous year
where records were kept. Ten green turtles and four
hawksbill turtles were found dead around our islands
this past year. In some cases it was not possible to
determine the cause of death. However, in exactly half
the deaths (five greens and two hawksbills), cause of
death was from being hit by motorboats.
These turtles all had cuts or crushed shells typical of
what happens when a high speed boat hits them. We
have had an increase in numbers of turtles in our
waters since 1973, and this, combined with a large
increase in speed boats, is resulting in more boats
hitting more turtles. This mostly happens in shallow
water near sea grass beds and coral reefs. Please slow
down in these areas and watch out for our turtles.

New Director
The Division of Fish and Wildlife has a new Acting
Director. Dr. Barbara Kojis comes to us from her previ-
ous position as Senior Resource Ecologist with the
Coastal Zone Management Division of DPNR where she
has been since 1992.
Dr. Kojis has a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University
of Queensland, Australia where she worked on the
reproductive ecology of stony corals from the west
Pacific. She has worked for the Peace Corps in Saipan,
with the Fisheries Department in Papua, New Guinea,
as Co-Director of the Lizard Island Research Station on
the Great Barrier Reef, with the School For Field Stud-
ies in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Florida
Marine Research Institute.
With this vast array of experience, we are looking
forward to improved direction at the Division.


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


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


IEClrcumuerrw~r~n~r~a~lrrrrpl~a~~_...._ ~--~--~r


----- -~~I~--~~~cl-------'-~- -- --'-~--"- ---"- -~ -


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Full Text

PAGE 1

~ ~: ~~ DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL -RESOURCES DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE February 1995 Volume 7 Number 5 ~ The Masked Booby Most people here in the V.I. realize that we have seabirds called boobies. What most people do not realize is that we have three species of boobies. The most common booby in the territory is the Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster ). It is recognized by its overall brown color and white belly in adults.' --"--';--'-C~ We also have the 'Red-Footed Booby (S. sula ) which is the least --... -. --common booby in our waters. ~~."'~ ~-~~ This species is characterized by an all white tail. It is the only booby here that nests in trees. As its name indicates, this bird has red feet. The Masked Booby (S. dactylatra ), also ." called the Blue-faced Booby, is distinguished from the Red-footed Booby by its dark brown tail and larger body size. The dark color of the flight feathers make these important feathers more resistant to wear. The long, tapered wings and cigar sha~ed body m~ke these birds 1~ efficIent, long dIstance ,-" ' ,',-, -, fliers and excellent divers, '~~ Masked Boobies have been seen diving from up to 100m above the water. I The Masked Booby nests 1 I on the ground and lays 1 to 2 bluish, chalky looking eggs in a shallow scrape near a cliff edge. .. These birds feed primarily on fish and squid which they catch by plunge diving. In the U.S. and British V.I., the only nesting colony ofM~sked Boobies is on Sula and Cockroach Cay off the northwestern end of St. Thomas. Annually, about 50 pairs of Masked Boobies nest here. The Division has attempted to establish a new nesting colony on Frenchcap Island and increase their numbers in the V.I. by taking their first laid egg on Cockroach and allowing it to be incubated and raised by Brown Boobies on Frenchcap. We have recently had two successful Masked Booby nests on Frenchcap that may be from early (1981 1985) translocated eggs. M. ~ c~c":.}~; ;lt~~~~~~~f~' Masked Protecting Our Environment~ In the last issue we discussed the Compass Point Pond as a step forward in protecting our environment through establishment of marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. In this issue we will look at the recently established Cas Cay/Mangrove Lagoon Marine Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary. This area was designated by DPNR and Rules and Regulations were approved by the Governor. The area includes all water and wetland vegetation within a line from Long Pt. to ',".:".'. , ~ eastern Cas Cay and then V~:.:i..;-"'~if:;: l to Cocculus Rks., NE " Bovoni Cay to Turpentine Run and then following the : mean high tide line "":"i i around the ,., , s h 0 reI in e """',;:~ LO. : back to Long Point. Within this "."ir,~"-'area, no fishing or take of any natural resources are allowed with the exception of bait fish near Cas Cay. No long term mooring will be allowed after July 1996. No internal combustion engines will be allowed in the inner lagoon channels. This area is considered to be one of the most valuable areas remaining in the V.I. for juvenile reef fish, wildlife roosting and nesting, and general wetland habitat. By protecting these resources from any take, we hope to restore once thriving populations of the animals found there. This in turn will affect nearby areas through migration of animals out of the protected area. Elimination of long term moorings will aid in reduction of nutrients and toxic substances being released into the waters of this area. Elimination of internal combustion engines from the inner lagoon will stop the damage to the mangrove root communities which results from boat wakes and fueVoil discharges. Roosting and nesting wildlife will also suffer less disturbance from engine noises. Bottom communities will stop suffering damage from propellers operating in the shallow waters of the inner lagoon. Vessels powered by sail, paddles, electricity, etc. will enjoy greater recreational use of this area. The intent of this designation and all the regulations is not only to protect the area for benefits to its biological resources but also to provide a location for people to experience a natural setting and enjoy being part of it. The establishment of this protected area will not be complete until the Turpentine Run sewage treatment plant is removed to Long Pt. and the liquid runoff from the landfill is contained or treated. Now that this area is protected under V.I. law, pressure can be exerted in the appropriate places for these changes to come about. QUOTE "The more we know of other forms of life, the more we enjoy and respect ourselves... Humanity is exalted not because we are so far above other living creatures, but because knowing them well elevates the very concept of life." Edward O. Wilso

PAGE 2

Turtle Strandings. 1994 During 1994 we had more sea turtles show up dead (strand) in the Virgin Islands than in any previous year where records were kept. Ten green turtles and four hawksbill turtles were found dead around our islands this past year. In some cases it was not possible to detennine the cause of death. However, in exactly half the deaths (five greens and two hawksbills), cause of death was from being hit by motorboats. These turtles all had cuts or crushed shells typical of what happens when a high speed boat hits them. We have had an increase in numbers of turtles in our waters since 1973, and this, combined with a large increase in speed boats, is resulting in more boats hitting more turtles. This mostly happens in shallow water near sea grass beds and coral reefs. Please slow down in these areas and watch out for our turtles. Shark Tag Return While fishing 20 miles south of St. Croix, commercial fisherman Jose Sanchez hooked and landed a 200 pound blue shark last April (1994). The shark had been caught before, as evidenced by a small tag in its dorsal musculature bearing a NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Center address from Narragansett, Rhode Island. The Division forwarded the tag to the Narragansett laboratory and recently learned that the female blue shark, weighing approximately 100 pounds, was first caught off the coast of Rhode Island on August 15, 1992. The shark had travelled at least 1,560 miles from the site where it had been tagged and doubled its weight since August 15, 1992. The blue shark, Prionace glauca, belongs to the family of sharks called Carcharhinidae or requiem sharks. Members of this family also include the tjger shark, whitetip reef shark, blacktip shark, and lemon shark. Blue sharks are a pelagic, or open-ocean, -,~ species, occurring in \:'\ temperate and tropical seas world-" wide. With streamlined bodies and pointed snouts, they are capable of travelling at sustained speeds of more than 20 miles per hour. New Poster The next poster in our series of Virgin Islands gamefish posters is available. This next poster is entitled Shallow Water Gamefish of the V.I. It depicts species of gamefish caught in shallow waters near mangroves and over seagrass beds and coral reefs. With a similar format to our other gamefish posters, this will also be useful for people wanting to learn about the fish in our waters. This, and our other posters are available by sending $2.50 in stamps for mailing costs. Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper New Director The Division of Fish and Wildlife has a new Acting Director. Dr. Barbara Kojis comes to us from her previous position as Senior Resource Ecologist with the Coastal Zone Management Division of DPNR where she has been since 1992. Dr. Kojis has a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Queensland, Australia where she worked on the reproductive ecology of stony corals from the west Pacific. She has worked for the Peace Corps in Saipan, with the Fisheries Department in Papua, New Guinea, as Co-Director of the Lizard Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef, with the School For Field Studies in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Florida Marine Research Institute. With this vast array of experience, we are looking forward to improved direction at the Division. This newsletter was funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean Fishery Management Council and the rYQv~rnment of the VI. ~Sl\&11!; ~ ~ ~ , r" ~,~""'i; i;j ~ ~ ~.fbR~'t'O BULK RATE U.S. POSTAGE PAID CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V. PERMIT NO. 35 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.) Address Correclion Requeslcd