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Tropic news. Volume 8. Issue 2.

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Title:
Tropic news. Volume 8. Issue 2.
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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Language:
English

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Subjects / Keywords:
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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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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Full Text



TROPIC NEWS


F-- DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL
RESOURCES
November 1995


DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE


Voum 8 Nube 2


Coastal Resources Damage Assessments

As a result of Hurricane Marilyn the Division of Fish and
Wildlife is presently involved in Coastal Resources Damage
Assessments at thirteen developed and undeveloped sites on the
east end of St. Thomas and St. John. As we observe the damage,
one of our first concerns is the impact to our already stressed
marine and coastal systems. Much of the damage is quite
obvious whereas some is only evident through closer observa-
tion. Most obviously, there is a considerable erosion of sandy
beaches from surge and abnormally high seas. The strong wave
action removed large amounts of sand leaving the root systems
of shoreline vegetation exposed and unstable. To restore the
beaches to pre-Marilyn status some developments are consider-
ing obtaining sand from elsewhere. This has to be done carefully,
matching grain size and composition to the sand already on the
beach. In some areas, the sand was redeposited on the seagrass
beds where many animals live and feed. The ability of the
seagrass bed to recover from the hurricane damage will have a
tremendous impact on many marine organisms that feed and live
there.
The coral reefs were also damaged by strong wave action. On
many reefs broken fragments of various species litter the bottom.
Reports from divers and fishermen state that reef fish show
considerable disorientation which was probably a result of being
tossed about during the storm. There is even a high catch rate in
traps because the fish seem to be looking for food or refuge.
"Ghost" traps are traps which have been lost yet continue to
catch fish. In the Virgin Islands, Title 12, Chapter 9A VIRR
Section 304-4 of the V.I. code requires fishermen to construct
traps with biodegradable materials which allows a portion of the
trap to open and free the fish. Otherwise the fish caught in a trap
without such fastenings will eventually die. We are still trying to
ascertain the numbers of traps lost to the storm and what effect
this may have on our fishery resources.
With the occurrence of Hurricanes Hugo in September 1989
and more recently Luis and Marilyn in September 1995, as well
as other severe storms, the Division has compiled data on the
effects of storms on our marine systems.. This information will
be very useful in a number of projects involving the status of our
marine environments.



Quote
"A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the
contemplation of mystery, or the search for truth and perfection,
is a poverty stricken day, and a succession of such days is fatal to
human life."
Lewis Mumford


Species of the Month: Reef Squid
The cephalopods are the most specialized and advanced
of classes of Mollusca. The most
common species in the Carib-
bean is Sepioteuthis sepiodea or
the Reef squid. This is the only
species of the squid normally
encountered on reefs. By day
they are found in small groups
of individuals, usually a pale
L. reddish green or reddish
brown in color, hovering
above the bottom. They are
: j-i usually shy, not allowing an
.-. observer to approach closely.
..If sufficiently disturbed,
they release a cloud of black
.*'. mink and jet away by contrac-
tion of the mantle cavity,
S. .. forcing water out of the
-funnel. At night they
become darker and,
Sepioteuthis sepiodea d r
Sepioteuthis sepiodea mesmerized by a diving
light, often can be closely
examined.
The ten arms are short, much less than the length of the body.
The average size of the Reef Squid is 25 cm (10 in.) long. The
fins, sticking out from the mantle, are nearly as long as the body.
At night a small number of iridescent blue green spots are found
on the mantle and color changes can be quite rapid. This species
has been observed to capture and feed on fishes.
After mating, a number of egg capsules each containing
several large eggs are attached to a hard substrate. They hatch in
just over one month and reach sexual maturity in seven months.
The maximum life of the species is about one year.
The Reef Squid, because of its gregarious and fearless habits,
provides much joy to snorkelers and scuba divers. Small schools
of this wonderful animal can appear suddenly in the corner of
your eye as you swim over a lagoon or reef, sometimes in water
less than 2 m (6 1/2 ft.) deep.


Volume 8 Number 2







Consider the St. Thomas Tree Boa.
The species most affected by the displaced public housing
residents in Estate Nazareth probably has the least say about the
entire matter. The St. Thomas Tree Boa (Epicrates monensis
grant) is a heavy bodied snake, 15 to 30 inches long. They are
the only snakes in the V. I. with a very distinct pattern: their
bodies and tails are covered with irregular crossbars in dark
brown on a light grey-brown background. Their bellies are cream
with irregular darker markings. Their necks are quite distinct,
and their heads are covered with irregular, small scales.
The area identified for the temporary housing is within the


_








,'",. .. ...
I/-- _~


center of distribution
for this federally
listed endangered
species as deter-
mined through
sightings and
surveys. This species
is nonvenomous and
harmless to humans
and feeds almost
exclusively at night
on anolis lizards.
During the day it
seeks refuge in rock


piles or under any object that provides shade.
A mitigation plan developed by the Division of Fish and
Wildlife requires that all personnel involved in site preparation
and construction be instructed in the importance of snake
protection and preservation. At least two weeks prior to the use
of heavy machinery on the site, the site will be flagged and
vegetation cut by hand, saving trees where possible. Any stone
walls or naturally occurring rock piles will be carefully dis-
mantled by hand as these are refuges for the snake. Finally, if
any snakes are encountered at any time during site preparation or
construction, the location will be marked and the DFW notified
immediately. If any snakes are caught they should be handled to
avoid injury to the snake and should be brought to the DFW.

Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper


CI e ~~I' p ~I


It's not too late for Coastweek
October 16, 1995 would have been the start of our
local Coastweeks campaign. Coastweeks is an
international coastal cleanup campaign
aimed at removing trash and debris
from our shores. Coastweeks is
I/coordinated by the Center for
Marine Conservation (CMC) in
Washington D.C. To say the
least, Hurricane Marilyn gave
coastal cleanup a whole new
definition.
Many schools as well as
.. "- non profit organizations
-',_ "usually participate in the
S annual clean up efforts.
Beach cleanup activities
play a vital role in
SCenter for EPA Coastweeks activities
Marine 8Ef and are of primary
Conservation --- importance in raising
awareness about trash
on our beaches and in
our coastal waters. Plastic materials are the predominant items
found during beach cleanup yet with the Hurricane we find
many items from the marine industry. Just in our backyard at the
Division of Fish and Wildlife located in Redhook, we cleaned up
the remnants of two houseboats, docks and assorted other debris.
Much of the cleanup process will continue for several months
since new debris washes up every day. Some areas will require
an organized effort to return the site to pre-Marilyn status. Since
our economy is directly dependent on our pristine beaches,
cleaning these beaches should become a regular event done
several times throughout the year.
I . -


4~lI&


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.I.
PERMIT NO. 35


Address Correction Requested




Full Text

PAGE 1

Volume 8 Number 2 ~ Coastal Resources Damage Assessments Species of the Month: Reef Squid The cephalopods are the most specialized and advanced of classes of Mollusca. The most common species in the Caribbean is Sepioteutms sepiodea or the Reef squid. This is the only species of the squid normally encountered on reefs. By day they are found in small groups of individuals, usually a pale reddish green or reddish brown in color, hovering above the bottom. They are usually shy, not allowing an observer to approach closely. ) If sufficiently disturbed, they release a cloud of black ink and jet away by contraction of the mantle cavity, forcing water out of the funnel. At night they become darker and, . mesmerized by a diving light, often can be closely {f/j ~'" 1,,:::,-. .':... . . .'. , ~~:~;~" .' . .-::::~--; "..': ~'" ~": ;" ~ ," , Sepioteut is sepiode(1 As a result of Hurricane Marilyn the Division of Fish and Wildlife is presently involved in Coastal Resources Damage Assessments at thirteen developed and undeveloped sites on the east end of St. Thomas and St. John. As we observe the damage, one of our fIrst concerns is the impact to our already stressed marine and coastal systems. Much of the damage is quite obvious whereas some is only evident through closer observation. Most obviously, there is a considerable erosion of sandy beaches from surge and abnormally high seas. The strong wave action removed large amounts of sand leaving the root systems of shoreline vegetation exposed and unstable. To restore the beaches to pre-Marilyn status some developments are considering obtaining sand from elsewhere. This has to be done carefully, matching grain size and composition to the sand already on the beach. In some areas, the sand was redeposited on the seagrass beds where many animals live and feed. The ability of the seagrass bed to recover from the hurricane damage will have a tremendous impact on many marine organisms that feed and live there. The coral reefs were also damaged by strong wave action. On many reefs broken fragments of various species litter the bottom. Reports from divers and fishermen state that reef fish show considerable disorientation which was probably a result of being tossed about during the storm. There is even a high catch rate in traps because the fish seem to be looking for food or refuge. "Ghost" traps are traps which have been lost yet continue to catch fish. In the Virgin Islands, Title 12, Chapter 9A VIRR Section 304-4 of the V.I. code requires fishermen to construct traps with biodegradable materials which allows a portion of the trap to open and free the fish. Otherwise the fish caught in a trap without such fastening~ will eventually die. We are still trying to ascertain the numbers of traps lost to the storm and what effect this may have on our fishery resources. With the occurrence of Hurricanes Hugo in Septe,mber 1989 and more recently Luis and Marilyn in September 1995, as well as other severe storms, the Division has compiled data on the effects of storms on our marine systems.. This information will be very useful in a number of projects involving the status of our marine environments. examined. The ten arms are short, much less than the length of the body. The average size of the Reef Squid is 25 cm (10 in.) long. The fins, sticking out from the mantle, are nearly as long as the body. At night a small number of iridescent blue green spots are found on the mantle and color changes can be quite rapid. This species has been observed to capture and feed on fishes. After mating, a number of egg capsules each containing several large eggs are attached to a hard substrate. They hatch in just over one month and reach sexual maturity in seven months. The maximum life of the species is about one year. The Reef Squid, because of its gregarious and fearless habits, provides much joy to snorkelers and scuba divers. Small schools of this wonderful animal can appear suddenly in the comer of your eye as you swim over a lagoon or reef, sometimes in water less than 2 m (6 1/2 ft.) deeD. --. ~$~ -.. : =:==-~~~~~~~~~~-' ,,~: ~ I ".-of'.. I ~-:-;:~~iQuote " A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search for truth and perfection, is a poverty stricken day, and a succession of such days is fatal to human life." --. -~ . v'... '\.~ ~;I"':~, ~.: -~. ~ Lewis Mumford

PAGE 2

I " It's not too late for Coastweek October 16, 1995 would have been the s.tart of our local Coastweeks campaign. Coastweeks is an international coastal cleanup campaign aimed at removing trash and debris from our shores. Coastweeks is coordinated by the Center for Marine Conservation (CMC) in Washington D.C. To say the least, Hurricane Marilyn gave coastal cleanup a whole new definition. Many schools as well as non profit organizations , usually participate in the annual clean up efforts. ".. .", . . Beach cleanup activities .. playa vital role in ~ Center tor ~ EPA Coastweeks ~tivities Marine ~7 and are of pnmary Conservation 5=-importance in raising awareness about trash on our beaches and in our coastal waters. Plastic materials are the predominant items found during beach cleanups yet with the Hurricane we fmd many items from the marine industry. Just in our backyard at the Division ofFish and Wildlife located in Redhook, we cleaned up the remnants of two houseboats, docks and assorted other debris. Much of the cleanup process will continue for several months since new debris washes up every day. Some areas will require an organized effort to return the site to pre-Marilyn status. Since our economy is directly dependent on our pristine beaches, cleaning these beaches should become a regular event done several times throughout the year. ,,--'~. -'--" -..=-. . ~.:~~=~. ._ ~ ,~ '" , "'::=::' ':, ~, -",..,..1' ~~ /lf ' ~. "". . ..'/ ' , ~ , ~ /1 . 'I '" < ,\/ ',,~-~-_\. :"'~:J:... ~~ .~~~!.t ?~ ., I 7 '--.:!c~ Consider the St. Thomas Tree Boa. The species most affocted by the displaced public housing residents in Estate Nazareth probably has the least say about the entire matter. The St. Thomas Tree Boa (Epicrates monensis grand) is a heavy bodied snake, 15 to 30 inches long. They are the only snakes in the V. I. with a very distinct pattern: their bodies and tails are covered with irregular crossbars in dark brown on a light grey-brown background. Their bellies are cream with irregular darker markings. Their necks are quite distinct, and their heads are covered with irregular, small scales. The area identified for the temporary housing is within the center of distribution for this federally listed endangered -species as determined through sightings and -"."' surveys. This species --" is nonvenomous and '-,-~ harmless to humans ._~:::.::. and feeds almost -. '" , exclusively at night j on anolis lizards. ./ f .;;' -r-----u _.-~ u.u During the day it seeks refuge in rock piles or under any object that provides shade. A mitigation plan developed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife requires that all personnel involved in site preparation and construction be instructed in the importance of snake protection and preservation. At least two weeks prior to the use of heavy machinery on the site, the site will be flagged and vegetation cut by hand, saving trees where possible. Any stone walls or naturally occurring rock piles will be carefully dismantled by hand as these are refuges for the snake. Finally, if any snakes are encountered at any time during site preparation or construction, the location will be marked and the DFW notified immediately. If any snakes are caught they should be handled to avoid injury to the snake and should be brought to the DFW. Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper This newsletter was funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean Fishery Management Council and the C'.nv..mm..nt ntt},.. VT BULK RATE U.S. POSTAGE PAID CHARLOTIE AMALIE, V.I. PERMIT NO. 35 GOVERNMENT OF nIB VIRGIN ISLANDS OF nIB UNITED STATES ****** Department of Planning and Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife 6291 Estate Nazareth 101 St. Thomas. USVI 00802-11(}4 (809)775-6762 (ST.T.), (8~)772-1955 (ST.X.) Address Correction Requested