As a diver, "continental enviro" and the former Executive Director of the St. Croix Environmental Association, I am pleased to finally hear that some action may now be taken by DPNR to once and for all enforce the ban on gillnet fishing that is ruining the once healthy coral reef system surrounding St. Croix.
Certainly, natural causes have had an impact on the surrounding coral reefs and if not stressed further, the reef system can eventually recover. However, the cumulative effect of muddy water run-off, raw sewage overflows and the use of the gillnets have stressed the reefs to the breaking point.
A lot has already been said about how horrible the gillnets are. The use of these nets are banned just about everywhere because they do so much damage.
To restore a healthy reef system to the beautiful coast of St. Croix would have countless benefits to the well being of the entire community. If the economy of the island is truly dependant of the tourist industry, stewardship of the marine resources should be the highest priority.
Creating and supporting sustainable systems to prevent coastal erosion and run-off, to creatively reuse water for agricultural production instead of the ocean dumping of millions of gallons of sewage per day and to nurture the coral reefs back to health are all attainable goals.
DPNR can now show leadership at this time and enforce the rules to ban gillnet fishing.
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