BVI Marine Awareness Guide

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B r i tish Vir gi n is lan ds




Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Baba Dioum

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas). Photo by Jim Scheiner

In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught.

Letters of support His Excellency David Pearey, The Governor of The Virgin Islands I am delighted to write this welcome message for the second edition of the BVI Marine Awareness Guide. The UK Government, through the use of its Overseas Territories Programme Fund, has been able to contribute towards some of the reprinting costs of this important resource. The purpose of this Guide, which has already received positive feedback since its 2008 launch, is to create an awareness of the British Virgin Islands’ marine and coastal environment and the conservation of these precious resources. It is aimed at present and future generations— those that live here, and those who visit us. Each one of us has an important part to play in protecting these beautiful islands.

Honourable Omar W. Hodge, The Minister of Natural Resources and Labour It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the British Virgin Islands. We are fortunate in many ways to be blessed by an abundance of nature and beauty that remain, to a large extent, pristine. I hope you enjoy this magazine and understand why we want to preserve our natural resources for generations to come. Under my Ministry, I want to ensure that the environment, the fishing industry and the resource base on which they depend are managed in a sustainable manner for the greatest possible benefit of the people of the British Virgin Islands and our visitors. You, our residents and visitors, have a role to play while safely and sustainably enjoying the unique features of the BVI. The information you will find in these pages will guide you in how to do just that. Your experience will be so much richer, knowing that you have helped to safeguard Nature’s Little Secrets.

Bertrand Lettsome, The Chief Conservation and Fisheries Officer

I would like to welcome you to the BVI, and I hope your experience here is special and rewarding. In an effort to assist us with the management and conservation of the natural resources that surround you, please take some time out to read this guide so that you will be aware of the “do’s & don’ts” in our marine environment. You can play an important role in ensuring its sustainability so that your next visit will be as enjoyable or even more enjoyable than your current visit. Thank you for utilizing the Marine Awareness Guide and adhering to the laws and regulations of the territory. I also want to thank you for choosing the British Virgin Islands for your vacation destination. I pray you will have a blessed and most memorable experience and that you will come again.

Surf and small fry. Photo by Jim Scheiner

The people of the British Virgin Islands depend on marine resources for food, recreation and the economic benefits that come from tourism. However, like many other small islands around the world, the sustainability of our marine resources is critically threatened. This guide was created to raise awareness on the importance of protecting these resources for the people of the BVI and those that visit these islands.

Dedicated to the future generations of the British Virgin Islands.

Much like the wildlife, reefs and waters that surround these pristine islands, this publication is NOT for sale. For information how to get a hard copy of this publication please visit The written contents of the BVI Marine Awareness Guide are the intellectual property of the Government of the Virgin Islands. All photos in this publication were donated by the credited private sector photographers and remain their artistic property. The graphic design of this publication is the sole property of aLookingGlass Ltd. Neither this magazine nor any part of it may be resold or reproduced without written consent from the aforementioned entities. Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


A Special Thanks Trish Baily Clare Cottreau Shannon Gore Paul Hubbard Katherine Huskey Armando Jenik Randy Keil Laura Magruder Walker Mangum George and Luana Marler Antonio Mignucci-Giannoni Nancy Pascoe Beverly Ruebeck Gemma Salaman Jim Scheiner

Hundreds of photos were donated for this publication. Unfortunately, not all could be used in this second edition. We want to thank everyone for their generosity.


Wayne Atkinson

Concept and Principal Author Shannon Gore Conservation and Fisheries Department

Production Team Traci O'Dea, Editor Nick Cunha, Creative director Richard George, Graphic designer Owen Waters, Sponsorship director

aLookingGlass Publishing Tortola, British Virgin Islands t 284.494.7788 f 284.494.8777

- BVIMAG team

Chris Syms Todd VanSickle

Wide awake eye Cover Photo by Jim Scheiner

Horizon Yacht Charters


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Important Numbers Medical emergency while at sea - Visar . . . . . . . .

Dial 767 (SOS) or Dial 999 or 911 494-4357 (494-HELP), Distress call on VHF Channel 16

royal Virgin islands Police Force. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Marine Police . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 468-3701 Ext. 4468 or 5346 Fire & rescue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 494-3822 Ministry of natural resources & labour . . . . . . . . . . 468-3701 Ext. 2147 or 2137 Conservation & Fisheries department . . . . . . . . . . . 494-3429, national Parks trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 494-3904 or 494-2069, department of disaster Management . . . . . . . . . . . 468-3701 Ext. 4457 or 4530, Customs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 494-3475

approved list of marine shelters Paraquita Bay, tortola sea Cows Bay, tortola sopers hole, West End, tortola nanny Cay, tortola (privately owned) hodges Creek, tortola inner harbour, tortola trellis Bay, Beef island hans Creek, Beef island the Bright, norman island south sound, salt island gorda sound, Virgin gorda great harbour, Jost Van dyke

Rock beauty (Holocanthus tricolor). Photo by Jim Scheiner

hUrriCanE hOlEs

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


habitats Coral reefs seagrass meadows


species Marine mammals sea turtles

Photo by Armando Jenik


Fisheries sea birds



in the face of a changing climate healthy oceans

Use of moorings and anchoring

safety natural hazards

Photo by Clare Cottreau

threats to our resources now

dive safety Beach safety

dangers sea life to look out for Basic first aid Fish poisoning

laws Protecting the natural resources sustainable fisheries souvenirs BVi sCUBa moorings sites


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide


Photo by Jim Scheiner

Photo by Armando Jenik

Conservation Photo by Paul Hubbard

Photo by Jim Scheiner



Laws Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


In its mission is to create and facilitate unique living and working environments in ecological harmony with the land, Oil Nut Bay, The North Sound Yacht Club and Biras Creek Resort enthusiastically support the Marine Awareness Guide. It is only through education and example that we will instill in future generations the necessary values to ensure the respect and stewardship that these waters so richly deserve. Victor International Corporation 10

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Fairy basslet (Gramma loreto). Photo by Armando Jenik


Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition

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What are coral reefs?

Coral reefs worldwide are valued economically in the billions of dollars, but once they are gone, they are irreplaceable.

Coral reefs are complex ecosystems found in shallow, warm, clear waters near low latitudes around the world. Reefs are defined not only by their physical structure but also by the organisms found on them. This includes a number of species of hard corals (reef building) and soft corals (sea fans and gorgonians), algae, sponges, echinoderms, mollusks, fish, crustaceans, bryozoans, tunicates, reptiles and marine mammals that all interact together to create a spectacular underwater world. There are over 350,000 acres of coral reef in the BVI.

A coral is made up of thousands of primitive animals called polyps. Each polyp has a clear, fleshy body with a ring of tentacles on top that helps the animal catch food. Algae called zooxanthellae not only give coral its color but also are a major source of food for the coral. There are about 80 species of reef-building corals in the Atlantic Ocean compared to about 500 in the Pacific. These reef-building corals make up different types of reefs. They can either be fringing, patch, barrier or atoll reefs. There are no atolls in the BVI, but patch and fringing reefs are found around every island throughout the Territory. The Anegada Horseshoe Reef, at 63km long, is the third largest contiguous reef in the Eastern Caribbean and contains both patch and barrier reefs.

Why are coral reefs important?

Coral reefs are considered the rainforests of the ocean because they are among the most complex and diverse of all ecosystems in the world. Coral reefs provide food and shelter for a wide variety of marine species, but for humans their value seems endless. Coral reefs worldwide are valued economically in the billions of dollars, but once they are gone, they are irreplaceable.

Reef threats During the late 1970s and early 1980s, white band disease wiped out the majority of elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) throughout the Caribbean. Today, these corals are found but not in large colonies as seen prior to the spread of the disease. They are also the only corals listed as threatened under the United States Endangered Species Act. In 1983-1984 the die-off of the spiny sea urchin (Diadema antillarum) drastically altered reef structure. The urchins kept algae from overgrowing on corals, and without the urchins, a large number of corals were smothered and died throughout the Caribbean.


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Great star coral (Montastrea cavernosa). Photo by Armando Jenik

Coral reefs


Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition

The total value for seagrass (per hectare, per year) came to

$19,004, nearly $13,000 more than the value put on coral reefs (per hectare, per year).

Hundreds of years ago, manatees were found in seagrass meadows in the BVI. Now the closest population is in Puerto Rico.

What are seagrasses? Seagrasses are flowering marine plants found throughout the world, except in arctic regions. Over 60 types of seagrasses are found worldwide, but only five are found in the BVI. Turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum) and manatee grass (Syringodium filiforme) are the most common seagrasses in the BVI and are found in shallow coastal areas around almost every island. Other types of seagrasses found in the BVI are shoal grass (Halodule wrightii), paddle grass (Halophila decipiens) and widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima) which is only found in salt ponds.

What is the value of seagrass meadows?

Seagrass meadows receive less attention compared to coral reefs, mangroves and wetlands, but they deliver a number of ecological services that are economically worth more than the other imperiled habitats. A study published in 1997 in Nature magazine provided a summary of the “average global value of annual ecosystem services� for a number of different habitats, including seagrass meadows. The total value for seagrass (per hectare, per year) came to $19,004, nearly $13,000 more than the value put on coral reefs (per hectare, per year), which were estimated to have a value of $6075! Explaining how these figures were calculated is beyond the scope of this article, but they might encourage people to realize that although seagrass may feel odd between your toes, it is actually worth a lot of money.

There are over 340 marine species that actually eat seagrass.

Seagrass Meadows 14

Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Stingrays and eagle rays often visit seagrass meadows to find food such as conch to eat.

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) eating seagrass. Photo by Jim Scheiner

Importance of seagrass Seagrass provides food and shelter to numerous commercial and recreational fisheries, as well as hundreds of invertebrates that are produced within or migrate to seagrass meadows. By absorbing and cycling nutrients from coastal run-off, seagrass helps maintain good water quality. It also stabilizes the seafloor to keep water clear and protects the shoreline from erosion by reducing incoming wave energy. Seagrass is recognized as one of the indicator species for overall coastal habitat health because it provides food for coastal food webs, oxygenates coastal waters, absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and exports organic carbon to adjacent ecosystems. Another benefit of seagrass is that it has potential for medicinal purposes such as remedies for pain, skin problems and as an aid for curing malaria.

Southern stingray (Dasyatis americana) and bar jack (Carangoides ruber). Photo by Jim Scheiner

Fish found on a reef are also found in seagrass, but those in the seagrass are small juveniles.

There are over 10,000 acres of seagrass in the BVI.

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Juvenile Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea). Photo by Jim Scheiner

Mangroves provide shelter for boats during intense storms (Paraquita Bay can store up to 355 on permanent moorings during hurricane season).



Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

There are a number of areas where PVC pipes are sticking out of the water in shallow areas. These are red mangrove seedlings planted as part of the BVI National Parks Trust reforestation programme. Over 1000 red mangroves have been planted in the BVI since 1999. The best place to experience a mangrove forest is at the mangrove boardwalk at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College Marine Center in Paraquita Bay.

Roseate flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber). Photo by Jim Scheiner

There are a number of distinctive coastal habitats where the land meets the sea, but salt ponds and mangroves play a vital role in the “bigger picture� scheme of marine resources. Wetlands are crucial for storm protection, incoming waves and flood mitigation as they are a natural drainage and barrier system. Sediments from land are filtered through the ponds and mangroves, which in turn protect marine habitats such as seagrass beds and coral reefs. They also provide critical habitats for numerous resident and migratory birds.

Wetland formation Salt ponds are formed when coral reefs begin to form across the entrance to a bay. Over time, the reef crest becomes a distinct barrier in which sediments are restricted from being transported in and out of the bay. Red mangroves (Rhizopora mangle) may begin to colonize reef crests to form a complex network of roots that trap sediments and continue to build land. The combination and process of all these factors (reef growth, mangrove colonization and sediment accretion) eventually expands the berm across the bay to form a lagoon. Sediments are washed down from the hillside or larger waves bring in more sand into the pond making the lagoon shallower. Throughout the evolution of these ponds, other mangroves besides red mangroves may begin to colonize the wetland area. In the BVI, these include the black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) that grows behind the red mangrove landward from the sea, white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), and another mangrove-like tree, the buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) follow behind red and black mangroves in succession. Bacteria in salt ponds give them their distinct odour and colour, ranging from reddish orange to bluish green. Many invertebrates eat cyanobacteria and use the energy from this food to reproduce, which ensures a continued supply of food for the birds that visit the salt ponds. Bone’s Bight Pond, Red Pond, and Flamingo Pond in Anegada were declared a Ramsar site in 1991. Ramsar is a treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Wetlands are crucial for storm protection, incoming waves and flood mitigation, as they are a natural drainage and barrier system. Anegada salt ponds. Photo by Shannon Gore

Did you


Roseate flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) in Anegada were hunted to extinction over 50 years ago but 18 were reintroduced in 1992 from Bermuda. Today, approximately 140 flamingos and their chicks can be spotted thriving around the ponds in Anegada. Another six flamingos live in the pond on Guana Island, and two are often seen flying over Beef Island or wading in Josiahs Bay pond.

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


The Baths. Photo by Jim Scheiner


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide


What’s in a beach? A very general definition of a beach is the zone between the low-water mark and the zone of transition landward, such as a vegetation line. This zone forms where sediments are accumulating either from the land or from the sea. Seaward, currents and waves deposit marine particles such as mollusks, foraminifera (tiny marine animals with shells) and coral. From the land, sediments primarily come from rock (igneous, sedimentary and/or metamorphic) via rivers and valleys. However, not all beaches are sandy. Grain size can change the classification of a beach from a sandy beach to a gravel beach made of gravel such as coral rubble, cobbles and even boulders.

Beaches in the BVI have formed over the last 6000 years, since the end of the last ice age.

Importance of beaches Beaches provide access to the ocean and create a barrier between the land and sea. They also buffer coastal areas from storm energy and hold the answers to past weather conditions and sea levels. A number of life forms such as mollusks, algae, plants and shorebirds are supported by beach zones. Preserving these areas is also important for a touristbased economy. Beaches are dynamic. They can be dramatically altered depending on the time of year, changes in currents, weather systems or even development somewhere else along the coast. Beachrock are the ledges of rock formed roughly between the low and high water marks and consist of sand grains cemented by calcium carbonate and formed by chemical processes. In some areas beachrock can be seen further offshore, indicating a time when the sea level was lower. In other areas, where it is within the tidal zone, tidal pools have formed and a variety of echinoderms (such as starfish and urchins) and mollusks can be found.

DO use dinghy moorings or tie up to docks. DO pick up your garbage. DO participate in or organize your own beach cleanup.

DON'T drag dinghies onto the beach, it accelerates erosion and can be a hazard.

Rogue's Bay, known locally as Lava Flow, is an ancient aeolian (windblown) dune, not volcanic lava as its name indicates.

Long ago, turtles most likely nested on almost every sandy beach in the BVI.

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Nanny Cay Resort and Marina is pleased to support the efforts and purpose of the Marine Awareness Guide. As we move through the new decade, we look forward to proactively improving the marine health and preserving the myriad of marine species that inhabit the waters of the BVI. Nanny Cay Resort


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Photo by Armando Jenik


Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition

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Marine mammals have an inherent aesthetic and amenity value that can potentially contribute to local economies through whale or dolphin watching tours.

In a nutshell, marine mammals include a number of unique

Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis). Photo by Armando Jenik

and completely unrelated groups of mammals that depend on the ocean for part or all of their survival. These include cetaceans (whales and dolphins), pinnipeds (seals, sea lions and walrus), sirenians (manatees and dugongs) and marine carnivores (otters and polar bears).


Why are marine mammals important? Historically, marine mammals have served as a socio-economic resource for traditional subsistence fisheries and have played an important part in the folklore and tradition of West Indian culture. They are important indicators of the overall health of the marine environment and add to the biodiversity of oceans. Marine mammals have an inherent aesthetic and amenity value that can potentially contribute to local economies through whale or dolphin watching tours. Aside from dolphins, humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are the most common marine mammals in the BVI. They are seen from January to April as they migrate from the Arctic to the warm Caribbean waters to mate and breed.

Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

What marine mammals are found in the BVI Scientific name

Fin whale *

Balaenoptera physalus

Sei whale *

Balaenoptera borealis

Bryde’s whale

Balaenoptera edeni

Minke whale

Balaenoptera acutorostrata

Humpback whale *

Megaptera novaeangliae

Sperm whale *

Physeter macrocephalus

Pygmy sperm whale

Kogia breviceps

Dwarf sperm whale

Kogia sima

Melon-headed whale

Peponocephala electra

False killer whale

Pseudorca crassidens

Pygmy killer whale

Feresa attenuata

Shortfin pilot whale

Globicephala macrorhynchus

Cuvier’s or goosebeak whale

Ziphius cavirostris

Antillean beaked whale

Mesoplodon europaeus

Densebeak whale

Mesoplodon densirostris

Killer whale

Orcinus orca

Roughtooth dolphin

Steno bredanensis

Atlantic spotted dolphin

Stenella frontalis

Pantropical spotted dolphin

Stenella attenuata

Spinner dolphin

Stenella longirostris

Bottlenose dolphin

Tursiops truncatus

Striped dolphin

Stenella coeruleoalba

Shortsnout saddleback dolphin

Delphinus delphis

Longsnout saddleback dolphin

Delphinus capensis

Risso's dolphin

Grampus griseus

West Indian manatee *

Trichechus manatus manatus

Southern sea lion (escaped)

Otaria flavescens

Caribbean monk seal (extinct)

Monachus Tropicalis

Hooded seal (stray)

Cystophora critata

Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata). Photo by Jim Scheiner

Marine Mammals

Common name

* Endangered species Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Mother humpback whale and calf (Megaptera novaeangliae). Photo by Jim Scheiner

Sightings and Strandings

Stay at least 100 yards away from a whale. This also applies to swimmers and divers who should not get into the water with whales (being so close can disturb whales and may be VERY dangerous).

Whether it’s your first time spotting a whale or your hundredth time, it is always an incredible experience to see such a majestic animal. Your first reaction is probably going to be to get close to the animal. Bad idea. As more and more boats come to the islands, more and more people want to get close to these creatures, so many animals are now moving to areas with less boat traffic. Before you follow the whales and dolphins, please remember these simple steps to ensure they continue to migrate through the territory.

Calling other boats to a whale will frighten or aggravate whales. Make sure an arc of 180 degrees is open in front of the whales. When paralleling or following whales, do not travel faster than the slowest whale as they are easily startled by unfamiliar objects and may have come from areas where contact with boats is rare. If you see a whale or dolphin, call the Conservation & Fisheries Department (494-5681) to report a sighting! This is the only way we can understand their migration patterns and their population abundance. If whales approach within 100 yards of your vessel, put engine in neutral until whales are observed at the surface, clear of the vessel. (This avoids the risk of injury to the whale or damage to the vessel by a frightened whale.) If your vessel causes the whale to change direction, this disturbance can eventually drive whales away from critical habitats for them to feed and breed. Avoid speeds over 10 knots or sudden changes in speed or direction within 1500 feet of a whale. NEVER allow a boat or person to come between a mother and a calf. (Disruption of parental care may reduce a calf’s chance of survival and mothers will be aggressive).


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide


If you see a marine mammal stranded at any time, call the Conservation & Fisheries Department immediately. 494-3429

Escaped sea lions from the Dominican Republic and St Kitts have been sighted in the BVI.

Photo by Laura Magruder

There have been at least 12 hooded seals from the Atlantic arctic that have stranded in the Caribbean. In 1996 another hooded seal (Cystophora critata) stranded in St. John, USVI.

In 1999, 12 shortfin pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) stranded on the island of Anegada, most likely due to military training in the area. Four years earlier, after hurricane Marilyn passed over the BVI in 1995, five pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuate) stranded in Trellis Bay. They were guided back out to sea, but three returned and subsequently died. It is believed they stranded because the weather had disoriented them.

Infections, injuries or disorientation are common reasons for marine mammals to strand or beach themselves. Mass strandings are believed to be due to the strong social bonds among individuals that might cause otherwise healthy animals to follow a sick or disoriented animal ashore. In the BVI, there have been several strandings as well as rare sightings of marine mammals out of their normal range. In 2003 a manatee (Trichechus manatus) was captured in Biras Creek, Virgin Gorda. It was 75 miles out of its normal range and was assessed to have been underweight and dehydrated.

Little is known about the now extinct Caribbean Monk Seal (Monachus tropicalis). This particular seal was hunted extensively and considered rare by the mid-1800s. The last confirmed sighting was in Columbia, South America in 1952. It was once common for early explorers to name localities based on observations of animals or other features of the location. Because seals were commonly called sea dogs or sea wolves, islands bearing names with “seal” “dog” or “wolf ” (translations from other nationalities) are thought to be suggestive of the former range of monk seals. The Dog Islands in the BVI, particularly East and West Seal Dog, were possibly former haul-out and/or pupping sites.

Shortfin pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus). Photos by Jim Scheiner

Southern sea lion (Otaria flavescens). Photo by Walker Mangum

Photo by Antonio Mignucci-Giannoni

Ochi (Czech meaning sea cow), was flown to the Caribbean Stranding Network in San Juan for treatment. Unfortunately, it died several days later.

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). Photo by Wayne Atkinson

Sea Turtles Turtle kraals (corral in Dutch) were man-made structures built prior to refrigeration and used to keep seafood fresh. Several can still be seen in the BVI, including East End, Tortola and Peter Island.

Leatherbacks (locally called "Trunks") primarily nest on the northern shores of Tortola from March to July.

Hawksbills are the most common foraging and nesting turtles in the BVI.


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Two of our tagged turtles have turned up alive and well far from the BVI – one was spotted by divers in 2006 in Guadeloupe, another traveled all the way to Bonaire in 2008.

There are seven species of sea turtles that have survived more than 100 million years of evolution. They are reptiles and include the Kemp’s Ridley, flatback, green, Olive Ridley, loggerhead, hawksbill and the leatherback turtles.

A Turtle’s Life The life stages of turtles are complex, and the more data collected from nesting and foraging turtles, the better the chances of the puzzle being solved. The first tagging programme began in the 1950s in Costa Rica and continues around the world today, including the BVI. Here, over 700 turtles (mostly juvenile green and hawksbill turtles) have been captured, tagged with both a PIT tag (just like the one your family pet might have) and small metal tags on their front flippers and then carefully released. Because turtles migrate immense distances between breeding and foraging grounds, they are shared resources of numerous countries; therefore, their conservation depends on international cooperation.

Importance of sea turtles in the BVI The mysticism behind “trunking” (the killing of a leatherback sea turtle) and the celebrations that once accompanied a turtle harvest are part of the cultural heritage of the East End and “Countryside” (Tortola) communities. The oil from the leatherback is still considered an important medicine for respiratory ailments, but the species is now fully protected under BVI laws. Nesting sea turtles, emerging hatchlings or even those turtles popping their head up at the surface of the water offer some people a once-in-a-lifetime experience with nature at its best. Sea turtles add to the biodiversity of the islands and play a role in the overall health of marine habitats.

Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). Photo by Jim Scheiner Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


School of yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus). Photo by Jim Scheiner

The fisheries of the BVI have been an important part of the islands’ culture

Most of the fish caught in the BVI can be found in other parts of the Caribbean, but local culture gives a number of commercial fish unique names you will not find in regular fish identification books.

that dates back to 300 BC when the Ciboney Indians were believed to have inhabited the northern Caribbean region. Later the Arawak Indians inhabited these islands, leaving many artifacts that helped confirm their presence here, including one of the conch middens (mounds) in Anegada that has been dated back to around 1200 AD. With pristine reefs and seagrass meadows surrounding the islands, the various fisheries provided early inhabitants with a wealth of food. These artisanal fisheries continued to provide for the local inhabitants until the 1960s when the advent of tourism turned what was once small-scale fishing into what has become a part of the BVI economy. With over 500 species of fish, the fisheries industry has become important not just for food but for recreation for both visitors and local residents. Our island guests are provided with the local West Indian foods seen on almost all hotel and restaurant menus from the artisanal and commercial fishing that occurs on the shallow, near-shore shelf surrounding the islands. Fishermen still use small boats and traditional fishing methods, such as the use of hook and line, fish traps (known as fish and lobster “pots”), and fishing nets (mainly gill nets and seine nets) both of which are often locally handmade. Located in the BVI, the famous “North Drop” makes sport fishing a potential highincome earner for the local economy. However, without stringent conservation laws and regulations protecting the fisheries of the BVI, what once included sustainable artisanal fishing and was once a sustainable fishery could eventually collapse. Research suggests that reviving billfish prior to their release increases their chances for survival. The possibility that billfish do not survive the hours of trauma caused by the exhaustive fight against sport fishers is real. More and more research has ensued concerning the physical and physiological consequences of capture and release, and chances are billfish are either left to succumb to lethal alterations in blood chemistry if they are not revived prior to release or their weakness leaves them vulnerable to predators such as tiger sharks that exist off the North Drop.


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Squirrelfish (Holocentrus adscensionis). Photo by Armando Jenik



Yellowtail snapper Ocyurus chrysurus

BVI Alias


BVI Alias Photo by Clare Cottreau

Balistes vetula BVI Alias


Photo by Clare Cottreau

Queen trigger


Photo by Jim Scheiner

Photo by Paul Hubbard

BVI Alias

Jacks Carnx spp.

Photo by Clare Cottreau

Red hind Epinephelus guttatus

Box, cow or trunk fish Family Ostraciidae BVI Alias


Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Fifteen species of seabirds breed in the BVI, two of which have globally significant colonies and eight species with a regionally significant population.

Brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis). Photo by Jim Scheiner

Sea Birds


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Why are seabirds important? The Puerto Rico bank (includes Puerto Rico, the BVI and the US Virgin Islands except St Croix) is considered one of the six primary endemic bird areas in the Caribbean and is a priority area for conservation. The Caribbean region has over 600 species of birds, including 22 species of seabirds; however, populations are thought to be only a fraction of their past levels. Fifteen species of seabirds breed in the BVI, two of which have globally significant colonies and eight species with a regionally significant population.


Photo by Andy McGowan

Photo by Jim Scheiner

Photo by Nancy Pascoe



3 Photo by Trish Baily

Photo by Nancy Pascoe

Photo by George & Luana Marler

Adult Male Male Adult

Chick 4



Red-billed tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) White-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus) Brown noddy (Anous stolidus) Cayenne tern (Sterna eurygnatha)


Magnificent frigatebird* (Fregata magnificens) Roseate tern* (Sterna dougallii)

6 4 2

Brown pelican** (Pelecanus occidentalis) Brown booby** (Sula leucogaster) Laughing gull** (Larus atricilla) Gull-billed tern** (Sterna nilotica) Sandwich tern** (Sterna sandvicensis)


Common tern** (Sterna hirundo) Least tern** (Sterna antillarum) Bridled tern** (Sterna anaethetus)

Breeding seabirds in the BVI

Audubon’s shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri)

* Globally significant colonies **Regionally significant colonies

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Awareness of one‘s surroundings is critical in the BVI where visitors and residents must understand how to symbiotically live within our environment. That understanding begins with education. By supporting the Marine Awareness Guide, the community receives an educational resource that aims to preserve the uniqueness of the marine environment that is such a prominent jewel in the BVI‘s crown. Mosaka Ventures Ltd.


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) at wreck site. Photo by Jim Scheiner


Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition

The future of our resources in the face of a changing climate

Simply put, climate change is the change in the earth’s average air and ocean temperatures. Since the beginning of earth’s history, dramatic climate changes have occurred. These changes have ranged from cooler temperatures causing periods of “ice ages” to periods of warmer temperatures (interglacial periods) causing massive glaciers to melt. There are many “causes” for the climate to change (such as volcanic eruptions or changes in the oceans currents) but, it is the change in the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) that poses the greatest threat today. A number of gases naturally occur in the earth’s atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, to name a few. These


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

greenhouse gases regulate earth’s temperatures, providing a blanket around the planet that prevents it from being too cold for humans to survive. However, too much of these gases will literally smother the earth and cause temperatures to rise, like on Venus where CO2 is so high that surface temperatures are over 800°F. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the use of fossil fuels (e.g., gas, coal and oil) that emit CO2 has increased the total amount in the atmosphere and the levels today far exceed levels found over the past 650,000 years.

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Most threats to our marine resources are caused by humans. One of the most damaging occurrences is thoughtless building practices that cause or accelerate coastal erosion and promote sedimentation to run-off into marine waters. Another harmful practice is the dumping, disposal or leaching of sewage, toxic chemicals into the marine waters. Anchors can pulverize fragile corals and tear up seagrass meadows. Certain fishing practices are also a threat to our marine life: over-fishing from “ghost” fishing traps that are lost by fishermen, the take of too many herbivorous fish that keep algae from overgrowing and smothering the reef, and the take of undersized commercial species. The last major threat is climate change.

Climate change will affect our marine resources Coral loss is one of the ways in which our marine resources will be effected by climate change. Bleaching occurs when water temperatures fall outside the normal range for coral survival (roughly between 76°F-82°F). Algae (called zooxanthellae) gives coral its color but during a bleaching event, it is expelled from the coral polyps and the underlying white calcium carbonate skeleton is left exposed. If water temperatures return to normal, algae may return and the color of the coral will return to normal. However, if water temperatures remain too hot (or too cold) for an extended period of time, the polyp will die and the exposed skeleton will eventually become covered in algae.

Christmas tree worm (Spirobranchus gigantus). Photo by Jim Scheiner

Threats to our natural resources

The ocean helps to absorb CO2, and as more of this gas is emitted into the atmosphere, more is absorbed into the ocean. Unfortunately, this process is altering the ocean’s chemistry and causing the water to become more acidic. Corals, lobsters and conch are just a few of the species that will have trouble surviving the acidic waters. Climate change will result in more intense and frequent storms that will break reef structures and accelerate erosion rates along the coastline and potentially cause severe flooding inland. Not only does erosion of beaches leave turtles without a beach to nest on, warmer temperatures of the sand could alter sex ratios since it is the temperature of the sand that determines the sex of a turtle hatchling. Radiation from the sun will cause mass fish kills, leaving birds to search further and further from land to find food, usually resulting in a loss of bird species. Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


With approximately one thousand charter boats in the BVI, imagine if each boat anchored on a reef at least once each week for a year. The damage would be irreparable.

Use of National Parks Trust moorings

Fan coral and diver. Photo by Armando Jenik

The BVI National Parks Trust manages the marine environment through the BVI Marine Conservation Programme. Over 200 moorings are established throughout the Territory in order to prevent anchor damage on fragile coral reefs and seagrass beds (BVI SCUBA mooring map on page 66). To use these moorings, boats must purchase a Marine Conservation Permit from NPT (57 Main Street, Road Town, Tortola; Tel: 494-3904 /2069), from any charter company or from Customs at all ports of entry. Boats are required to use NPT mooring buoys at dive sites and must purchase a Marine Conservation Permit for their use (Marine Parks & Protected Areas Regulations, 1991). While using an NPT mooring, overnight use is not permitted, it is illegal to fish and there is a 90-minute time limit. Use the moorings with caution. NPT moorings should not be used during times of severe weather or rough waves.

Buoys are colour coded! Commercial vessels & divers

snorkel & day Use

dinghies only


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

All other mooring buoys are privately installed to prevent damage to the sea bed. They are available throughout the Territory on a fee-per-night basis. However, there are a few privately owned moorings (usually very different from other moorings in the field) that are owned specifically by local boat owners and may not be used by anyone except the owner. If you are not sure, ask someone onshore at the nearest marina or restaurant.

Anchoring Anchoring on a reef or seagrass bed can potentially be unsafe for you and your boat. Coral heads are made of soft calcium carbonate and do not provide a good hold for your anchor. Find a sandy patch, if you have to anchor, and make sure the chain is not rubbing against or tangled around any coral head. With approximately one thousand charter boats in the BVI, imagine if each boat anchored on a reef at least once each week for a year. The damage would be irreparable. Do not anchor inside of a mooring field. Moorings are spaced so boats will not hit each other if there are wind shifts. However, if someone anchors between the moorings, they may hit the other boats if the wind shifts. Believe it or not, a number of people anchor then untie the anchor from the boat thinking the charter company provides enough anchors for each night of the week.

Boats are required to use NPT mooring buoys at dive sites

The Caves, Norman Island, photo by Jim Scheiner

Anchoring on a reef or seagrass bed can potentially be unsafe for you and your boat.

Healthy Oceans Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Greening your charter boat Before you provision for your boat, think about the products you are going to buy. Most cleaning products (soaps, shampoos, detergents, etc.) end up in the water. Purchasing less harmful products helps conserve the environment for future generations to enjoy.

Ocean-safe products . . . Are non-toxic and biodegradable (especially toilet paper and cleaning agents). Are made of natural ingredients rather than synthetic. Use primary ingredients that a ten year old could pronounce or spell. Won't say “harmful or fatal if swallowed.” They are even more harmful for sea life. Are sold in recyclable containers. Are produced without animal testing. List all their ingredients. Be wary of those that do not. Are from companies that practice eco-friendliness.

remember . . . Don't overfill fuel tanks. Fill portable tanks onshore or on a fuel dock where spills are less likely to occur. Carry oil absorbent rags on board to clean spills of oil and fuel. Instead of pumping out the bilge, use absorbent pads or disposable cloth. Keep loose plastics off the boat such as plastic grocery bags, polystyrene, styrofoam, six-pack rings and packaging. Open the hatches for fresh air instead of running the air conditioning and generators. Attach loose articles to the boat so they don’t blow away. Use moorings instead of anchoring.


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Instead of bleach, use Borax or hydrogen peroxide. Instead of scouring powders for fiberglass, tile or showers, try baking soda, a scrub pad and a little elbow grease. For windows and glass, try vinegar and lemon juice mixed with warm water.

The Beata in Wreck Alley. Photo by Armando Jenik. Opposite: Juvenile phase of a stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride).Photo by Beverly Ruebeck

alternative Cleaning agents

To clean chrome, use apple cider vinegar to clean and baby oil to polish. An eco-friendly copper cleaner is lemon or limejuice mixed with salt. Olive or almond oil make an effective, safe wood polish.

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Bridled burrfish (Chilomycterus antennatus). Photo by Armando Jenik


Polluting the marine waters of the BVI includes everything from throwing trash overboard to emptying oil containers on the side of the road, it all eventually destroys fragile sea life.


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Waste oils from boats should be taken to the incinerator plant in Pockwood Pond and not placed next to or inside dumpsters. dispose of pet waste properly. avoid taking plastic onboard such as six-pack rings, plastic bags, disposable plates, cups and cutlery. Bring back whatever you took out to sea. there are numerous marina and beach locations where trash can be disposed of properly but some areas do charge a small fee per bag. do not discard fishing line overboard. Empty sewage far offshore, not in harbors or bays. dispose of cigarette butts in trash receptacles.

Feeding night feeders during the day, such as snappers and jacks, causes a disruption in the natural predator-prey interactions that keep the reef's circle of life in balance. Hand-fed fish at dive sites can cause the fish to become aggressive and therefore a nuisance to divers and snorkelers. Feeding the fish could bring in much bigger species looking for food, such as sharks. Human food we feed fish doesn’t meet their nutritional requirements. This could cause the fish to become malnourished and more susceptible to lesions, sores and parasites around the mouth and gills.


take your own non-disposable bags to the supermarket and dispose of them properly

Use onshore restrooms when at the dock. While the BVi is notorious for not having holding tank laws, it doesn't mean you shouldn't use them.

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition

Chubs (Family Kyphosidae). Photo by Jim Scheiner

stow any loose items such as bags, clothing, towels and cans so they don’t end up overboard.

For years, people have thrown leftover food into the water. Yes, it attracts fish and makes things interesting for those watching, but it can actually harm the fish and reefs. Food added to the water column alters the nutrient balance of the reef. It can cause a decline in water quality and clarity of the reef. Feeding fish human food alters their natural feeding behaviour; once they expect handouts, they will ignore their important roles within the ecosystem. This could ultimately result in algal overgrowth on corals.


Environmental conservation and safety are paramount to protecting the BVI’s seascapes. The Moorings supports the Marine Awareness Guide and preservation of these cruising grounds for future generations. The Moorings

As strong supporters, Sunsail believes the Marine Awareness Guide can encourage safe boating and conservation of the landscapes that make the BVI special. Sunsail


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Caribbean reef octopus (Octopus briareus). Photo by Clare Cottreau


Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition

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Storm PrecautionS Remove boats from the water if you can, or take them to one of the approved marine shelters. (See page 7.)

Before the onset of a tropical storm or hurricane, it is very important to secure boats and equipment. If possible, boats should be moored in a group (rafted). Bowlines must be secured, individually tied to trees, piling or other strong points on land, allowing sufficient slack for rising tides. The stern, too, should be similarly secured above ground or with an anchor or other strong point on the sea bed. Boats assembled in groups must also be secured to adjacent boats with breastlines and spring lines forward and aft. Fenders or cushions of car tires should be placed between the boats to absorb movement, impact and friction. Mooring lines and cables should be of sufficient strength and long enough to absorb any surge or excessive high tides. They must be protected against chafing.

Boat moorings, anchors, chains, cables and ropes should be kept in good condition and rechecked well in advance.

Make sure that your boat and its moorings, anchors, etc. do not block or otherwise obstruct the navigable channel or other access into the mooring or anchorage.

Do not tie up parallel to the bank or shoreline (receding tides may leave your boat stranded or cause it to capsize).

Leave room for late-arriving boats.

Monitor and listen to the radio for regular weather reports, warnings and marine notices.

Moor and secure your boat in good time before the advent of the tropical storm or hurricane. After it is secured, leave it and do not return to it until the storm has passed and the winds and seas have subsided. Relatively large vessels may not fit into the listed marine shelters. Their operators should seek other places to safely secure their vessels which are comparable with the respective size and type of vessel, or put vessel to sea in due time to travel away from the storm or hurricane to avoid it altogether.


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

At Sea

Rings. Photo by Armando Jenik

Natural Hazards

There are a number of natural hazards one must be aware of, especially while visiting the BVI. Not only do tropical storms and hurricanes pose a threat between June 1st and November 30th, but throughout the year there are also other natural hazards that include swells, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Tsunamis Earthquakes The Virgin Islands region is seismically active due to its proximity to various faults, including the Puerto Rican trench to the north.

Swells Northern swells (locally called ground seas) often generate large waves along northern coastlines in the BVI from November to April. Keep posted of swells coming in to the area; waves can come in quite quickly overnight. Moorings and anchorages exposed to swells are not safe and should be avoided until waves subside. North shore beaches are susceptible to large waves and rip currents during swells. Taking dinghies to areas exposed to the swell can be dangerous. Be aware of boats. Boats anchored or moored at north shore locations should relocate to anchorages on the northern shores.

During and after a major earthquake, stay calm. If you are indoors, get under a sturdy piece of furniture (desk or table) or into a doorway and stay clear of windows and exterior doors. If you happen to be outside try to get into the open, away from buildings and utility wires. Do not enter partially collapsed or damaged buildings because an aftershock could bring the walls or roof down without warning. Avoid exposed electrical wiring, indoors or outdoors. Only use the phone for emergencies (injuries, fire, and trapped people), and be prepared for aftershocks. If you are in a car, stop the car, but stay inside. Do not stop on or under a bridge, tree, light posts or signs.

A strong earthquake lasting 20 seconds or more near the coast may generate a tsunami. Tsunamis are a series of waves caused by a mass disturbance of water usually generated by an undersea earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslides or meteors falling to earth. Tsunamis arrive as a series of successive waves that can occur anywhere from 5-90 minutes apart. Tsunamis can originate hundreds or even thousands of miles away from coastal areas. Local geography may intensify the effects of a tsunami. Areas at greatest risk are less than 50 feet above sea level and one mile off the shoreline. A noticeable rapid rise or fall in the coastal waters or a significant withdrawal of the ocean around the coast is a sign a tsunami is approaching. If you detect signs of a tsunami, evacuate to higher ground, or if you are in a boat, move to deep waters (at least to depths of 600 ft). Stay tuned to channel 16 for the latest emergency information, more waves could come inshore. The last tsunami the BVI experienced was in 1867.

This information is intended for visitors to the BVI only. Comprehensive disaster preparedness guidelines for residents of the BVI may be found at the Department of Disaster Management’s website:

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Dive Safety

DON'TS DON'T dive in areas where there is a lot of boat and dinghy traffic, for example close to dinghy docks.

DON'T dive alone. Always dive with a buddy or as a group.

DOS If you are not familiar with the BVI dive sites, or you haven’t been diving recently, it is highly recommended that you dive with one of the BVI-based dive companies. If you are unsure of a specific dive site, stay close to the dive vessel. A responsible person should be on-board the vessel at all times. A maximum time limit should be discussed with them so they know when to expect you back and make sure you are either back at the boat or on the surface by that time. Agree what action should be taken if divers are not visible by this time (i.e. call VISAR).

DON'T dive if conditions are not favorable. This is especially important on the wreck of the Rhone as this dive can have very strong currents.



999 • 911 • 767 VISAR


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

dO always have a dive flag clearly visible on the vessel you are diving from.

dO pack a first aid kit and oxygen (if possible) should be on board or readily available.

dO dive within your own limits and training. (60 ft for novice divers. do not dive past 130ft)

dO keep your BCd inflated when at the surface, beginning and end of dive. dO monitor air regularly and always make sure you are at the surface with at least 500psi 50 bar left in tank. dO check currents with a drop line for sea conditions before entering the water.

For diving accidents – call Ch16 for the nearest

commercial dive operator or Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR). Be sure to state your location and the nature of accident.

Stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride). Photo by Clare Cottreau

! @ #*

More Emergency info

no matter how experienced a diver several concerns that should be taken into consideration before entering the water.

For more info, or if you would to make a donation visit

Reefscape. Photo by Jim Scheiner

you are, there are

Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR) is a voluntary organisation dedicated to saving life at sea. It is the officially recognised search and rescue service in the British Virgin Islands, where it provides 24-hour cover every day of the year in close cooperation with the Royal British Virgin Islands police, fire and ambulance services. VISAR volunteers come from all walks of life and undergo rigorous training in seamanship and small boat-handling skills, search and rescue techniques and first aid. They give up their own time to train and answer distress calls with nothing in return except the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing a vital job. 767 (SOS) from any phone in the British Virgin Islands. It's a free call, or call Fire and Rescue on 999 or 911.

Recompression Chamber Location

St Thomas USVI 1-340-776-8311

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Beach Safety WATCH OUT FOR THE WAVES. Waves are commonly formed by the wind blowing across the surface of the sea. The longer the wind blows, the bigger the waves will be. How steeply the beach shelves will also affect the size and type of wave. riP tiPs Rip currents Rips are strong currents running out to sea that can easily take swimmers from shallow water to greater depths. Rip currents are particularly powerful in large surf conditions, but they can also be found around manmade structures like marinas, piers and dinghy docks.

Escape a rip The most important thing is to remain calm and try not to panic. Keep hold of your body board, surfboard or inflatable, and don’t fight the rip current. Signal to someone on the beach that you need help by raising your hand and shouting for help. Try and swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the rip current then swim towards the shore. Never try and swim directly towards the shore against the rip. If you can stand up, wade instead of swim. Remember if you see someone in trouble, tell a lifeguard, call the police or call VISAR immediately. Tel: 999/ 911/ 767

do not fight the current. swim out of the current, then to shore. if you cannot escape, float or tread water.

Lifeguards are found most days at Cane Garden Bay and Josiahs Bay.

if you need help, call or wave for assistance.

Spilling waves appear when the top of the wave tumbles down the front of the wave. These types of wave are generally the safest for swimming in.


Surging waves never actually break. Look out for this type of wave, as they can easily knock people off their feet and drag them back out to sea – especially when standing on rocks, the shoreline or harbour walls.

Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Dumping waves break with great force and in shallow water. These dangerous waves usually occur on reefs and on sand banks or beaches that are steep. Avoid going into the sea when you see dumping waves.


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Surfer at Cane Garden Bay. Photo by Jim Scheiner

hOW to BrEaK thE gRIP

Smuggler's Cove: courtesy of Survey Department

riP Warning signs discoloured, brown water (caused by sand being stirred up from the sea bed).








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a break in the surf line where the waves are not as big.

debris floating out to sea.


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What do they all mean? a rippled patch of sea, when the water around is generally calm. Foam on the water’s surface.


Mark areas of water that are patrolled by Lifeguards. These are the safest places to swim.

Black & white cheque Mean an area of water that has been marked out for use by craft, i.e. windsurfing and dinghies. Do not swim in this area.


Indicate danger. Do not swim in the area. At the Baths, Devils Bay & Spring Bay the red flag indicates yachts are prohibited from the mooring field.


Inform swimmers to take caution; weak swimmers are discouraged from entering the water. At the Baths, Devils Bay & Spring Bay the yellow flag indicates yachts should take caution when using the mooring field.


Indicate a marine life warning, for example jellyfish. This flag may be flown with the yellow or red flags. Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


The waters of the BVI provide daily enjoyment for residents and visitors alike, but the elusive sea also contains dangers that can be easily avoided by being aware and taking the necessary precautions. As a local company, CCT is proud to facilitate the education of all who enjoy the BVI waters. Jose Luis Fernandez CCT Global Communications


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Pederson cleaner shrimp (Periclimenes pedersoni) in grouper's mouth. Photo by Jim Scheiner


Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition

Jellyfish move with the currents, so the time of year in which jellyfish can be seen is variable. Tentacles can be nearly invisible and very long, so be cautious of any jellyfish warnings. Several types are known to be seen in the BVI.

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How to treat a sting The sting of a jellyfish can be minor or so severe that the person stung may go into anaphylactic shock. Even broken off tentacles found on the beach can retain their toxicity and should not be touched. Be sure an oral antihistamine is in your first aid kit and if possible, an injectable epinephrine pen.

Anegada Nurse sharks. Photo by Armando Jenik


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

You may also soak the affected area for 30 minutes with vinegar, one-quarter strength ammonia or baking soda. (Do not use vinegar if it is a Portuguese Man o' War as the vinegar will cause the stinging cells to continue firing). Lime juice can be used as an alternative. Rinse with fresh water that is forceful enough (as in a shower) to physically force the stinging cells off. Gentle rinsing could cause the cells to fire. Then, after soaking and rinsing, lather the area with soap or shaving gel and shave the affected area. Reapply vinegar or substitute for 15 minutes then apply hydrocortisone lotion twice a day. If the victim shows a severe reaction, seek medical attention immediately.

Photo by Chris Syms

Portuguese Man o' War

(Drymonema dalmatinum)

(Physalia physalis)

Photo by Gemma Salaman

Cauliflower Jellyfish

Sea Nettle (Chrysaora quinquecirrha)

Photo by George & Luana Marler

Box Jellyfish (Carybdea alata)

Photo by Jim Scheiner

Moon Jelly (Aurelia aurita)

Photo by Armando Jenik

Upside-down Jellyfish (Cassiopea ssp.) Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition










12 54

Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide




The sad and unfortunate death of animal activist Steve Irwin has raised the awareness that stingray envenomation can be fatal. However, most wounds are on the feet or legs as unsuspecting swimmers tread upon the rays hidden in the sand. Photo by Jim Scheiner.

up against a coral can break the skin and since it is a live 2 Rubbing organism, may take longer to heal. Photo by Armando Jenik.



Squid are quite harmless but if one jumps out of the water while you are racing across the mooring field, it can knock the wind out of you and eject ink all over you and the boat. Photo by Jim Scheiner.


Like jellyfish, fire corals give you an electrifying sting if you rub up against them. Rubbing sand over the affected area helps to pull out the stinging cells. Photo by Jim Scheiner.


Sea urchin spines can cause painful puncture wounds that may cause muscle spasms, breathing difficulties, weakness and possibly other allergic reactions. Photo by Jim Scheiner. Mostly harmless unless you have allergic reaction to regular grasses

6 found on land. Seaweed is actually seagrass, algae or a mixture of the two. Photo by Armando Jenik.


known as “thumb splitters,� mantis shrimp have the ability to 7 Also inflict wounds like a gunshot. Keep fingers out of crevasses. Photo by Jim Scheiner.


Eels open their mouth to breathe, but sticking your finger into crevasses could potentially cause an eel to bite. Photo by Armando Jenik.


Barracuda are curious fish that may harmlessly follow you around. However, if they are threatened, they turn dark in color. Photo by Jim Scheiner.

of the scorpion fish transport venom into puncture 10 Spines wounds. Photo by Armando Jenik. Pacific-natives, lion fish, were introduced into the Atlantic 11 These and are now considered invasive but still rare in the BVI. They can be


territorial and aggressive. If you spot a lion fish in BVI waters call Conservation and Fisheries ASAP (see page 8). Photo by jim Scheiner. Sharks are occasionally seen throughout the BVI, especially during 12 the summer when they are mating or when females come into various bays and harbours to give birth to their pups. Sharks can actually cause two types of injuries, severe bleeding or severe internal injuries due to impact. Photo by Armando Jenik. If touched, fire worms have tiny bristles that break off into the skin 13 and cause a painful and irritating rash. Photo by Shannon Gore.


Octopi are shy but have a beak similar to a parrot and can bite. 14 Photo by Jim Scheiner.

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Sea urchin. Photo by Clare Cottreau

The effects of a scrape or puncture caused by a marine organism can be unpredictable because everyone’s own physiology is different. Effects can vary from a minor rash to extreme swelling to anaphylactic shock, so it is important to take any injury from a marine organism seriously. In most cases, the wound should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water and then treated with an anti-itch antibiotic two to three times daily.

To treat a bleeding victim, apply direct pressure until bleeding stops and apply an antibiotic ointment. Seek medical attention if bleeding persists or the wound is deep.

Puncture wounds can be caused by sea urchins, scorpionfish, lionfish and stingrays. For all puncture wounds, soak the wound in water hot enough not to scald the skin (110-113° F / 43.3-45° C) for 90 minutes to alleviate pain and inactivate the venom. For stingray wounds, do not try to remove the barb, it may cause more damage—seek medical attention. Also seek medical attention for scorpionfish or lionfish envenomation. For sea urchins, seek medical attention if the person has breathing difficulties, muscle spasms or other allergic reactions. Do not try to pull out the spines of an urchin. Purple or black markings are not necessarily spine fragments but dye leached from the urchin. If there are black markings after 48-72 hours, then spine fragments are most likely still in the skin. Usually the spine naturally expels itself, however, if there are signs of infection (fever, swollen lymph glands, etc.), seek medical attention.

Ciguatera poisoning is a food-borne illness caused by eating marine species whose flesh is contaminated with a toxin called ciguatoxin. Ciguatoxin accumulates in lower-level organisms, resulting in higher concentrations of ciguatoxin at higher levels (bigger fish) of the food chain. When ingested by humans, initial gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, cramping and vomiting. This is often followed by neurological symptoms such as headache, flushing, muscular aching, weakness, tingling and numbing sensation of the lips, tongue and mouth. Symptoms usually begin 15-30 minutes after eating the contaminated fish and can last from days to months. There is no way to tell if a fish has the toxin, and because the toxin is heatresistant, the fish cannot be detoxified by cooking. It is locally known that fish caught south of the islands are more likely to carry the ciguatoxin. Local fishermen know of locations prone to ciguatera and do not acquire fish in those regions. As a result, it is in the best interest of individuals that are unaware of the fishing practices in the BVI to acquire all fish they consume from reputable businesses, and/or commercial fishermen.


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Seek medical attention . . . if bleeding persists or if a wound is deep . . . if a person has breathing difficulties, muscle spasms or other allergic reactions . . . if there are signs of infection (fever, swollen lymph glands, etc.) . . . if you think ciguatera poisoning has occurred.

First Aid Spine at the base of the tail of a blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus). Photo by Randy Keil

Divers Alert Network (DAN) for non-emergency medical information 1 800 446 2671 1 919 684 2948 Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm (ET)


For emergencies within the BVI, call Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR) Dial 767 (VISAR) Dial 999 or 911 (FIRE & RESCUE, POLICE) A distress call on VHF Channel 16


Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


As educators and explorers, we value the importance of teaching and adhering to the laws that exist in order to protect the marine environment of the BVI. We encourage residents and visitors of every age to learn and respect these important regulations. Mike Liese Sail Caribbean Jim Stoll Sea Trek Monk Daniel Action Quest


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Glasseye snapper (Heteropriacanthus cruentatus). Photo by Paul Hubbard


Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition

Protecting Natural Resources

True wisdom consists Yellowhead jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons) with eggs. Photo by Jim Scheiner

not in departing from


nature but in molding our conduct according to her laws and model. — Seneca, ancient Roman writer

Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

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Protected and Priority areas


There are specific laws regarding anchoring in the Wreck of the Rhone Marine Park under the Marine Parks and Prohibited Areas Regulations, 1991. You are not allowed to anchor within the Marine Park or within a Fisheries Protected or Priority Area (VI Fisheries Regulations, 2003 Sec. 50 and 51).

It is illegal to possess or to damage any coral, sponge or marine algae except with written permission of the Chief Conservation & Fisheries Officer (VI Fisheries Regulations, 2003 Sec. 28 and within Marine Parks, National Parks Act, Sec. 49).

It is illegal to anchor, use a mooring without a permit, fish, take any artifact or commercially film, within the Wreck of the Rhone Marine Park (Marine Parks and Prohibited Areas Regulations, 1991).

Pollution Under the VI Fisheries Regulations, 2003 Sec. 32, it is illegal to put any poisonous or noxious substance or other pollutant into the fresh, estuarine or fisheries waters of the Virgin Islands.

If you leave the BVI with live coral and enter the US, you can be prosecuted under US Federal Laws (Lacey Act).

Beaches It is illegal to remove sand, stone, gravel or shingle from any beach without permission from the Minister of Natural Resources and Labour (Beach Protection Ordinance, 1985). All beaches in the BVI can be accessed via boat; by law there are no “private� beaches (VI Resolution No. 7 of 1989).

Marine mammals Under the Litter Abatement Act, 1987, a person can be fined $500 for littering in the Territory. This includes litter that has accumulated on private property, littering from a moving vehicle, transporting garbage so that it litters the roadsides and placing litter on private property. Any activity in which pollution causes damage or adversely affects the living resource is illegal (VI Fisheries Act, 1997, Sec. 39).

It is illegal to take, harm or fish for any marine mammal in BVI waters. This could include harassment (VI Fisheries Regulations, 2003 Sec. 29).

Birds It is illegal in the BVI to kill, injure or take any wild bird or take, damage or destroy any wild bird egg or nest (Wild Bird Protection Cap. 96, 1959).

turtles souvenirs It is illegal to sell shells (such as conch shells) and coral which are on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) to people leaving the Territory (VI Fisheries Regulations, 2003 Sec. 28).

It is illegal to disturb, remove, kill or have in their possession any sea turtle or sea turtle eggs (VI Fishereis Regulations, 2003 Sec. 22)

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Moratoriums Applying for a Fishing License All BV Islanders, non-belongers and visitors boating in the BVI who want to fish are required (VI Fisheries Regulations, 2003, Part I & Part II) to obtain a Certificate of Registration and Fishery License from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour[(468-3701 ext. 2147 / 2137). There are three types of local fishing licenses:

Fishing for, exposing for sale, purchase or at any time having in possession at any time the following species (VI Fisheries Regulations, 2003 Sec 27):

goiliath groupers (Epinephelus itajara) leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

The Commercial fishing license is for BV Islanders only and is for the sale of the boat’s catch.

Prohibited Fishing Methods The Pleasure fishing license limits the catch to 30 pounds of fish per boat per day per boat.

The following prohibited fishing falls under the VI Fisheries Regulation, 2003 Part VII:

The Sport fishing license is on a catch-and-release basis but is still also allowed the maximum retention of 30 pounds per boat.

In the BVI it is illegal to use or carry onboard

All licenses can be obtained

through the Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour. Temporary fishing licenses valid for 1 or 3 months may be obtained for a fee. Application forms may be requested and returned via fax (494-4283) and must be accompanied by a copy of a valid photo ID (passport or driver’s license). In the near future, licenses will be made easier to obtain for those visiting the BVI at all ports of entry. Conditions of license are set forth by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour and pleasure fishing licenses do not allow taking of lobsters, conch, turtles or whelk at any time.

a fishing vessel any spear gun, SCUBA equipment, explosive, poison or other noxious substance for fishing in the fishery waters. There is a maximum fine of $15,000 for this violation.

No person shall haul, take away, empty or cast adrift or destroy any fishing equipment belonging to some other person without their consent. (VI Fisheries Regulation, 2003 Sec. 41). It is also prohibited to remove fish from any type of fishing equipment

Billfish such as blue Any US boat found fishing in BVI waters without a license will not only be prosecuted in the BVI, but will most likely be prosecuted under US Federal Laws for bringing illegally caught fish into US waters under the Lacey Act.

Anyone witnessing the harvesting or practicing of any ILLEGAL methods in the British Virgin Islands waters should immediately contact the Conservation and Fisheries Department (494-3429) or Marine Police (468-3701 ext. 3604 or 3607).

Closed seasons Under the Virgin Islands Fisheries Regulations 2003, no person shall take from the fishery waters, expose for sale, purchase or at anytime have in his possession the following species during the closed season unless the Minister of Natural resources & Labour publishes otherwise in the Gazette and in a newspaper circulating the Territory:

Aug 15 – Oct 31

Queen conch Strombus gigas

Aug 15 – Oct 31

Whelk Cittarium pica

Jan 1- Mar 31


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

marlin (Makaira nigricans), white marlin (Tetrapturus albidus), sailfish (Istiophorus americus) and swordfish (Xiphias gladius) must be released. (VI Fisheries Regulations, 2003 Sec. 54).

Margate fish Haemulon album

Mar 1- May 31

Nassau grouper Epinephelus straiatus

Apr 1-Nov 30

Green turtle Chelonia mydas

Apr 1-Nov 30

Hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbriocota

Jan 1- Mar 31

Red hind Epinephelus guttatus

Jul 31 –Oct 31

Spiny lobster Panulirus argus

Horse-eye jacks (Caranx latus). Photo by Armando Jenik

Only the holder of a commercial fishing license may fish for conch, whelk, turtle or lobster when the season is open.

Sustainable Fisheries Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Juvenile Spanish hogfish (Bodianus rufus) and ocean surgeonfish (Acanthurus bihianus). Photo by Randy Keil

Leave it in the BVI

If you’re looking for the perfect souvenir to take home with you from the Caribbean, be aware that what you pick up off the beach or buy in a store may be legal in the BVI but may be illegal in the country in which you are importing it. If the product is endangered, illegally taken, or is an artifact, it could be confiscated, and you could receive a fine. Even worse, you could be put in jail. A number of species and all historical shipwrecks and their artifacts found in the BVI are protected under VI laws as well as under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). If you are not sure if your souvenir is illegal, don’t bother buying it or leave it where you found it. If you have questions regarding these legalities, contact the Conservation & Fisheries Department (494-3429), the National Parks Trust (494-3904 / 494-2069) or the Ministry of Natural Resources & Labour (468-3701 ext. 2147 / 2137). For more information on CITES, visit:


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Live coral, sponge, algae Protected under the VI Fisheries Regulations, 2003 Sec. 28.

Queen conch shells Requires CITES permits, your home country could confiscate it or fine you.

Shipwreck artifacts Protected under the National Parks Act 2006 sec. 36.

Elkhorn or staghorn coral (Acroporid spp) (dead or alive) Protected under the United States Endangered Species Act. (Don’t even think about trying to take it to the United States, including Puerto Rico or the USVI.)

Turtle shells Require import and export CITES permits; your home country will fine you and throw you in jail without permits.

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


BVI SCUBA Mooring Sites 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Tortola Brewers Bay East - A3 Brewers Bay West - A3 Smugglers Cove - A3 Northern Cays Green Cay West - A2 Great Tobago - A3 Pelican Island The Indians - I1 Pelican Island - N1 Norman Island Santa Monica Rock - A3 Angelfish - N3 The Caves - I1 Water Point - I1 Ring Dove Rock - I2 Spyglass Wall - I2 Brown Pants - A3 Peter Island Carrot Shoal - I3 Shark Point - A3 Black Tip - A1 Great Harbour - I1 RMS Rhone Marine Park Anchor - A3 Fearless - A3

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43

Painted Walls - I2 Dead Chest West - I2 Dead Chest - N1 Coral Gardens - N1 Blonde Rock - A3 The Rhone Wreck - I2 Rhone Reef - A3 Cooper Island Dry Rocks West Cistern Point - I1 Incannes Bay - I2 Haulover Bay - I1 Mary L. - A2 Thumb Rock - A2 Markoe Point - A3 Devil’s Kitchen - A3 Carvel Rock - A3 Dry Rocks East - A3 Ginger Island Ginger Patch - I1 Alice in Wonderland - A2 Ginger Steps - I2 Ginger Steps Point - I2 Fallen Jerusalem - A1 Virgin Gorda The Baths - N3

44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63

Aquarium - N3 Paul’s Grotto - I3 Mountain Point - N3 Cows Mouth - I3 North Sound The Invisibles - A3 The Dogs Seal Dogs East - A3 Seal Dogs West - A3 Dolphin Rock - A3 Cockroach Island - I3 Bronco Billy - I3 George Dog - N3 Great Dog South - N3 The Chimneys - I2 Flintstones - A3 Joe’s Cave - A3 Scrub Island Scrub Island Point - A3 Scrub Island West - N2 Great Camanoe Diamond Reef - I1 Guana Island Monkey Point - N3 Northern Shelf The Chikuzen - A3



Great Tobago


Jost Van Dyke







Fisheries Priority & Fisheries Protected Area 17

Dive Site Mooring Locations


Experience Level Novice Intermediate Advanced

1 2 3

Seasonal Swell Low Moderate High

Pete 6

7 12



10 14 9


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide



Anegada 63

Not to scale in comparrison with other islands.


49 50

Great Camanoe


Guana Island



The Dogs




53 54



Virgin Gorda


59 62




43 42

Ginger Island

Cooper Island


37 28

Dead Chest 24







27 21




39 40


Salt Island





34 33

er Island 16 15

n Island

Shaded areas are estimated locations and may not reflect exact measurements. Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Primary Photographer Bios Jim scheiner (rainbow Visions) Jim Schiener has lived in the Caribbean for over 30 years, with most of that time in the British Virgin Islands. A well known photojournalist, he specializes in underwater, aerial and lifestyle photography. His words and pictures have appeared in magazines and books the world over. Jim has logged over 10,000 dives worldwide, usually with camera in hand. Along with his late wife, Odile, he is the author of Diving the British Virgin Islands, the definitive dive guide to these islands. Scheiner has been documenting the natural beauty of the British Virgin Islands since his arrival in 1979 and is planning on eventually donating his considerable collection of underwater, aerial and topside images (with many taken in the 1980s when the islands were still largely “untouched� by development) to the national archives of his adopted home. His line of photographic prints, BVI Frameable Art, including his 360-degree panoramic images, is available at select stores in the BVI and online at The Rainbow Visions Photo Center & Studio has been located at Prospect Reef Resort since 1985. Tel: 284.494.2864 : : Email: Web:

Paul hubbard (rainbow Visions) Paul Hubbard moved The British Virgin Islands in 2003 to join the Rainbow Visions Photography team. Prior to moving the the BVI, Paul spent 16 years in the British Army where, amongst other things, he learnt to SCUBA dive became a PADI diving instructor and also became fascinated with the art of photography.

Clare Cottreau (sY Kuralu) Originally a biological oceanographer on research ships all around the globe, Clare sailed a 33' boat to the BVI from the UK and stayed to do some diving ten years ago. Then she met her future husband and never went back. Now she has a 3 year old son, is expecting another child, and rarely has time for her passion of underwater photography as she and her husband Gary run a day sail catamaran - SY Kuralu. An enthusiastic amateur, she won the Marine Conservation Society's Underwater Photography Competition in 2006 and one of her photos is coming out as a BVI stamp very soon. She remains hopeful that she will be able to devote more time to her photography in the future.

"The greatest thrill for me is to capture a split second for an eternity, a moment in a lifetime that may never be repeated, or sharing a view of the natural worlde that has not been seen or may never be seen again" In his spare time Paul is a Crew Responder and Board Representative for VISAR and is an active runner, recently completing the Chicago Marathon and the BVI Half Marathon.

armando Jenik (scuba shots BVi) Armando has dedicated many years of his life to raising public awareness of the British Virgin Islands aquatic ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them. He has influenced the ways in which individuals perceive conservation and marine life throughout the world and will continue to encourage a new order of responsible human behavior through his contribution to the BVI Marine Awareness Guide. View Armando's work at


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Sponge zoanthid (Parazoanthus parasiticus) and sponge brittle star (Ophiothrix suensonii) Photo by Jim Scheiner


Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition


Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

Adam, PJ, G. Garcia. 2003. New information on the natural history, distribution, and skull size of the extinct (?) West indian monk seal, Monachus tropicalis. Marine Mammal Science, 19(2):297-317 Allen, J. A. 1880. History of North American pinnipeds. United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, Miscellaneous Publications 12: 1-785. Blasco F, Saenger P, Janodet E. 1996. Mangroves as indicators of coastal change. Catena 27:167-178. Debrota, 0. 2000. A review of records of the extinct West Indian monk seal, Monachus tropicalis (Carnivora: Phocidae), for the Netherlands Antilles. Marine Mammal Science 1 6:s 34-8 37. Erdman, D. S. J. Harms, and M. Marcial Flores. 1973. Cetacean records from the northeastern Caribbean region. Cetology 17:1-14. Fish University. Reviving and releasing billfish. www. Friedlander, A. The recreational fishery for blue marlin, Makaira nigricans (Pisces: Istiophoridae), in the US Virgin Islands. Hemminga, M. and Duarte, C. 2000. Seagrass Ecology. Cambridge University Press. 298pp. Good Mate Recreational Boating and Marina Manual. Produced by the Ocean Conservancy, 2003. Gore, S. 2007. Beaches, not just sand. BVI Yacht Guide, Sept. 2007. Gore, S. 2007. BVI Fishery Regulations. BVI Yacht Guide, July 2007. Gore, S. 2005. 'Warm Water Threatens Coral Reefs', Marine Melee column, BVI Beacon Gore, S. Manatee Rescue. Final Report to the Government of the BVI. Unpublished report. 7pages.


Hastings, M. Survey of Hawksbill / Green Turtle Nesting Sites in 1990 & 1991 in the British Virgin Islands. Technical Report No. 13. 21p.

Juvenile blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus). Photo by Jim Scheiner

Jarecki L. 2004. Salt Ponds of the British Virgin Islands: Investigation in an unexplored ecosystem. In PhD Thesis University of Kent at Canterbury, Durrell Institute of Conservation & Ecology.

Lutz, P., Musick, J. eds. The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, 1997. 432p. Matilla, DK, Clapham, PJ, 1989. Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and other cetaceans on the Virgin bank and in the northern leeward islands, 1985 and 1986. Can. J. Zool. 67(9): 2201-11. McGowan, A., Broderick, A., Gore,S., Hilton, G., Woodfield, N., Godley, B. 2006. Breeding Seabirds in the British Virgin Islands. Endangered Species Research. Vol. 2:15-20 Mignucci-Giannoan. AA, . 1989. Zoogeography of marine mammals in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Master’s thesis, The University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI.448pp. Mignucci-Giannoni, AA, 1998. Zoogeography of Cetaceans off Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Caribbean Journal of Science, Vol. 34, No.3-4, 173-190. Mignucci-Giannoni AA, Odell DK. 2001. Tropical and subtropical Western Atlantic records of hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) dispel the myth of extant Caribbean monk seals (Monachus tropicalis). Bulletin of Marine Science 68(1):47-58. Mignucci-Giannoni, AA, Toyos-González, GM, PérezPadilla, J, Rodríguez-López, MA, Overing, J. 1999. Mass stranding of pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata) in the British Virgen Islands. J.Mar.Biol.Ass.UK, 80;759-760. Overing, J. Survey of Marine Mammals in the British Virgin Islands December 1993-to July 1994. Technicla Report No. 25. 15p. Overing, J. Survey of Marine Mammals in the British Virgin Islands December 1991-to April 1992. Technicla Report No. 14. 12p. Overing, J. Fish Eat Too. BVI Welcome Magazine. Dec/ Jan 1997. Reeves, RR, Swartz SL, Witmore, SE, Clapham, PJ, 2001. Historical occurrence and distribution of humpback whales in the eastern and southern Caribbean Sea based on historical data from American whaling logbooks. J.Cetacean Res. Manage. 3(2):117-129 Report of the 2006 ICCAT Billfish Stock Assessment. Madrid, May 15-19, 2006. Sail Caribbean. List of environmentally safe products for summer programmes. Sheppard, C. 2002. Coral Reefs' World Life Library Series.

Katona, SK, Beard, JA, 1990. Population size, migrations and feeding aggregations of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Rep. Int. Whal.Commn. (special issue) 12:295-305. Kathiresan K, Bingham BL. 2001. Biology of mangroves and mangrove ecosystems. Adv Mar Biol 40:81-227. Leatherwood, S.,, D. K. Caldwell, and H. E. Winn. 1976. Whales, dolphins and porpoises of the western North Atlantic: A guide to their identification. Tech. Rep., Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv. CIRC-396, 176 pp. Lewis RR. 1988. Management and restoration of mangroves forests in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida, U.S.A. Tabasco: INIREB. P.319-342. Lidtz B, Shinn EA. 1991. Paleoshorelines, reefs, and a rising sea: South Florida, USA. Journal of Coastal Resources 7:203-229.

Short, F. and Coles, R. eds. 2001. Global Seagrass Research Methods. Elsevier Science. 473pp. Spalding, M, Ravilious, C. and Green, E. 2001. World Atlas of Coral Reefs. University of California Press. 424pp. Winge, S. 1992. West Indian monk seal. Pages 35-40 in S. R. Humphrey, ed. Rare and endangered biota of Florida. Volume I. Mammals. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, FL. Winn, HE, Edel, RK, Taruski, AG, 1975. Population estimate of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the West Indies by visual and acoustic techniques. Journal Fish.Res.Bd Can. 32(4):499-506. Ward, N., Moscrop, A. and Carlson, C. 2000. Elements for the development of a marine mammal action plan for the Wider Caribbean: a review of marine mammal distribution. UNEP (WATER)/CAR WG.22/INF.7.

Lugo AE, Snedaker SC. 1974. The ecology of mangroves. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 5:39-64.

Marine Awareness Guide Second Edition




Second Edition Marine Awareness Guide

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