I am an eleventh grade student attending the St. Croix Educational Complex High School. I am presently enrolled in Ms. Ann Marie Gibbs' Environmental Science Class. Our most recent topic of study was gill net fishing and its effects on coral reefs, fish, and other plant and animal life found within our surrounding waters. I was appalled to learn of the damage done to this ecosystem by selfish fishermen who have no regard for anyone or anything else but themselves and the mighty dollar.
It was disheartening to read about an endangered green sea turtle, which got caught in one of these gill nets. To free the turtle, these fishermen cut off its fins and left it to die. The turtle did die and eventually washed up on shore where scientists and environmentalists determined its cause of death to be related to gill net fishing.
Last year a group of students from my school went on a turtle watch. It was amazing to see these large turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Now, however, we have uncaring people killing off the few of which remain. Other students may not be able to witness this phenomenon.
Next month I will be completing a course to become a certified scuba diver. I am eagerly looking forward to my first dive and to observing life under our waters. I am worried now that because our government is not enforcing the ban on gill net fishing that I may not be able to witness the wonders of the depths of our waters.
I beg the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and the Division of Fish & Wildlife to strictly enforce the ban on gill net fishing. Let's act now to protect and to preserve our natural resources for today and for future generations.
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