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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, July 1, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesMONUMENT DESIGNATIONS LOOK TO THE FUTURE

MONUMENT DESIGNATIONS LOOK TO THE FUTURE

It pains me terribly to see the cavalier attitude to environmental protection in the Virgin Islands.
Perhaps the greatest resource the islands have, beyond the wonderful and eclectic variety of people and culture, is what is left of one of the most beautiful marine reefs in the world.
I understand trying to act in a manner that best protects and represents what voters of the Virgin Islands hold true. But please, for their sake and that of the amazing underwater ecology of the Virgin Islands, don't allow our vision to be short sighted in trying to overturn President Clinton's wonderful decision of protecting our reefs.
Many other island communities, not only in the Caribbean but around the world, have learned that reefs are not a commodity to be drained and destroyed as a consequence of commercial and subsistence fishing. I understand that the livelihood of fishermen in the Virgin Islands will be impacted by the protection of the reefs, but keep in mind that it is a very valid argument that they may not be effected in a detrimental manner.
If anything can be learned from past protection of reefs in the Caribbean, it is that protection only leads to increased abundance of fishing opportunities in outlying areas. If we protect our underwater ecology the marine life will flourish and certainly propagate to areas beyond the protection.
Our political leaders are being horribly short sighted in the obvious equation of Protection = Less Money for Fishermen = Bad.
This situation is much more complex! Take into account these equations.
Protection = Greater Marine Ecology = MORE TOURISM = More Money.
Protection = Greater Marine Ecology = More Beautiful Island.
Protection = Greater Marine Ecology = Greater World We Leave For Our Children.
And of course, if history has taught us anything, Protection = Greater Marine Ecology = More Fishing Opportunities.
The coral reefs of the Virgin Islands are irreplaceable, unlike sources of income. People of the Virgin Islands are an intelligent group of people, and I trust in their collective wisdom that if their fishing opportunities are adjusted or negated, they will have the ability to find different sources of income.
Perhaps in the increased tourism, created as a direct result of protecting our waters and reefs?
We simply can't afford to destroy what it took our Lord thousands upon thousands of years to create. If we continue upon the path of destruction, simply in the name of saving fishing jobs, very shortly, and certainly in our lifetimes, our reefs will be gone. There will be no more fishing, and no more tourism or diving for that matter. Imagine the disservice we will have done for our children in the name of a few short-term fishing dollars.
Please, we have a wonderful opportunity to protect our reefs in a manner that will ensure a limitless bounty of fish for our hard working fishermen and woman for centuries to come.
Included in that protection will be a windfall of tourism dollars to the Virgin Islands, which of course will only lead to more jobs and a greater economy.
The respectable members of our electoral body stand at the threshold of a remarkable opportunity to make a name for yourselves as heroes and saviors of our beautiful Virgin Islands. Do not allow yourself to be short sighted in this situation. In environmental matters of magnitude such as this, it is not a case of what will we do tomorrow. Rather a case of what will we be doing 50 years from now and beyond.
Again, I implore our elected officials to consider the future ramifications of their decisions. Remember what the Indonesian Islands have done to their reefs, in the name of fishing in the now. Once considered the one of the world's more wonderful treasures, those reefs stand now as a mere fraction of its former beauty and are on the brink of permanent destruction. Ask them what they would have done if they had it to do over again.

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It pains me terribly to see the cavalier attitude to environmental protection in the Virgin Islands.
Perhaps the greatest resource the islands have, beyond the wonderful and eclectic variety of people and culture, is what is left of one of the most beautiful marine reefs in the world.
I understand trying to act in a manner that best protects and represents what voters of the Virgin Islands hold true. But please, for their sake and that of the amazing underwater ecology of the Virgin Islands, don't allow our vision to be short sighted in trying to overturn President Clinton's wonderful decision of protecting our reefs.
Many other island communities, not only in the Caribbean but around the world, have learned that reefs are not a commodity to be drained and destroyed as a consequence of commercial and subsistence fishing. I understand that the livelihood of fishermen in the Virgin Islands will be impacted by the protection of the reefs, but keep in mind that it is a very valid argument that they may not be effected in a detrimental manner.
If anything can be learned from past protection of reefs in the Caribbean, it is that protection only leads to increased abundance of fishing opportunities in outlying areas. If we protect our underwater ecology the marine life will flourish and certainly propagate to areas beyond the protection.
Our political leaders are being horribly short sighted in the obvious equation of Protection = Less Money for Fishermen = Bad.
This situation is much more complex! Take into account these equations.
Protection = Greater Marine Ecology = MORE TOURISM = More Money.
Protection = Greater Marine Ecology = More Beautiful Island.
Protection = Greater Marine Ecology = Greater World We Leave For Our Children.
And of course, if history has taught us anything, Protection = Greater Marine Ecology = More Fishing Opportunities.
The coral reefs of the Virgin Islands are irreplaceable, unlike sources of income. People of the Virgin Islands are an intelligent group of people, and I trust in their collective wisdom that if their fishing opportunities are adjusted or negated, they will have the ability to find different sources of income.
Perhaps in the increased tourism, created as a direct result of protecting our waters and reefs?
We simply can't afford to destroy what it took our Lord thousands upon thousands of years to create. If we continue upon the path of destruction, simply in the name of saving fishing jobs, very shortly, and certainly in our lifetimes, our reefs will be gone. There will be no more fishing, and no more tourism or diving for that matter. Imagine the disservice we will have done for our children in the name of a few short-term fishing dollars.
Please, we have a wonderful opportunity to protect our reefs in a manner that will ensure a limitless bounty of fish for our hard working fishermen and woman for centuries to come.
Included in that protection will be a windfall of tourism dollars to the Virgin Islands, which of course will only lead to more jobs and a greater economy.
The respectable members of our electoral body stand at the threshold of a remarkable opportunity to make a name for yourselves as heroes and saviors of our beautiful Virgin Islands. Do not allow yourself to be short sighted in this situation. In environmental matters of magnitude such as this, it is not a case of what will we do tomorrow. Rather a case of what will we be doing 50 years from now and beyond.
Again, I implore our elected officials to consider the future ramifications of their decisions. Remember what the Indonesian Islands have done to their reefs, in the name of fishing in the now. Once considered the one of the world's more wonderful treasures, those reefs stand now as a mere fraction of its former beauty and are on the brink of permanent destruction. Ask them what they would have done if they had it to do over again.