MARIGOT, St. Martin - On Sunday, April 10, 2016 in the late morning, the Marine Department of the gendarmerie of Saint Martin uncovered on the Eastern coast the illegal underwater fishing of Queen Conchs.
Surprised by the intervention, the boater tried dump overboard much of the conchs caught illegally: several dozen kilos of conch.
After questioning the boater must now answer to justice for his crime.
Reminder of the regulations: the conch is a mollusk protected by the Washington Agreement and its fishing is regulated.
It is prohibited for recreational fishermen at any time and any place. However, it is permitted for professional fishermen, out of the nature reserve, from 01 September to 31 March each year for the northern islands on the condition that they respect the size limitations.
BRISBANE, Australia – A study by the University of Queensland (UQ) has found that new science-based fishery regulations are needed if coral reefs are to have a future in the face of climate change.
The study shows that Caribbean coral reefs are experiencing mounting pressure from global warming, local pollution and over-fishing of herbivorous fish. An international team, led by University of Queensland researchers, has found that tighter fishery regulations are needed to preserve corals of the Caribbean.
Researcher Dr Yves-Marie Bozec, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said herbivorous parrotfish were needed because they eat seaweed, which can smother coral and prevent corals from recovering.
“While several countries in the Caribbean have taken the bold step of banning the fishing of parrotfish (including Belize, Bonaire, Turks and Caicos Islands), parrotfish fisheries remain in much of the region,” Dr Bozec said.
The research team analysed the effects of fishing on parrotfish and combined this with an analysis of the role of parrotfish on coral reefs.
“We conclude that unregulated fisheries will seriously reduce the resilience of coral reefs,” Dr Bozec said.
“However, implementation of size limits and catch limits to less than 10 percent of the fishable stock provide a far better outlook for reefs, while also allowing the fishery to persist.”
Study co-author Professor Peter Mumby from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences said a number of countries wanted to modify their fisheries to reduce impacts on reefs. “What we’ve done is identify fisheries’ policies that might help achieve this,” Professor Mumby said.
The new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today, argues that science should be used to revise current fisheries practices for herbivorous fish in the Caribbean.
The authors have provided tools to help fisheries managers make such changes.
“Ultimately, the more we do to maintain healthy coral reefs, the more likely it is that fishers’ livelihoods will be sustained into the future,” Professor Mumby said.
“We already know that failure to maintain coral habitats will lead to at least a threefold reduction in future fish catches.”
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - On March 29, 2016 the Minister Of VROMI Honorable Minister A. Meyers was given a tour of the Simpson Bay Lagoon by Mr Tadzio Beervoets of the St. Maarten Nature Foundation.
The Minister got a first-hand look at areas that are mostly affected by sewage especially in the southern part of the lagoon which, is in the vicinity of Pineapple Pete towards Tropicana Casino due to insufficient water circulation.
In addition, the Minister indicated that the ministry is busy with an assessment to determine whether the various Marina's constructed or under construction are in compliance with the lease agreement.
Furthermore, various shipwrecks were observed which would inquire the input of various ministries.
In closing, the Minister expressed that working collaboratively with the Nature Foundation is fundamental especially moving forward with the location and construction of the sewage/ water treatment facility for the Cole Bay district that is vital for the community and residents in the area.
COLE BAY, St. Maarten - As part of the Save our Shark Project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation has uncovered numerous shark related products, including shark fin soup, being sold at various establishments around Sint Maarten.
Over the past few weeks, the Foundation conducted an inventory about shark products being sold at restaurants, supermarkets and individual stores at various locations on the island. “Unfortunately, we have found different products containing shark being sold on our island, including shark fin soup, shark steaks, shark liver oil, shark cartilage pills, ray wings and shark oil.
There is no accepted scientific evidence showing any positive health benefits of shark fin soup or shark products, like liver oil and cartilage pills. The promotion of these products is a marketing strategy; in fact studies show that shark has among the highest levels of the toxic methyl-mercury and other dangerous toxins which can cause serious health effects.
Even small quantities of shark meat can contain large quantities of poisonous methyl mercury. Warnings are issued especially for pregnant women and young children,” read a Nature Foundation Statement.
Globally, human pressure has resulted in 100 million sharks being killed annually, primarily for products such as the ones uncovered by the Nature Foundation.
The cruel act of finning sharks, which often involves cutting the fins off of live sharks, and selling shark products, is pushing sharks to the brink of extinction, including in the waters surrounding Sint Maarten:
“We have been partnering with the prestigious Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC and the Pew Charitable Trust to find out whether or not the products are made from local St. Maarten Sharks.
This is very important because since October the 12th of 2011, it is prohibited to wound, catch, land, or kill sharks, rays and skates in the territorial waters of St Maarten. So if Genetic Results come back positive for Sharks caught in local waters, laws were broken,” continued a Nature Foundation statement.
Sharks are not frightening or dangerous but an important contributor to the ecosystem and important to the local community as they attract valuable dive tourism. Sharks also keep the reefs clean of unhealthy fish, keeping the ecosystem in balance. “If we do not have sharks we will lose our coral reef ecosystem and everything which depends on that such as fisheries, dive tourism, beach tourism and the very things which make us a unique island in the Caribbean.
Unfortunately, of the thirty three shark species living in the Dutch Caribbean, a third is categorized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as vulnerable to extinction, another third is near threatened, and four species are already (critically) endangered with extinction.
The Nature Foundation therefore advises the public to not purchase any shark product and requests stores and restaurants to stop selling any shark product.
The Nature Foundation will be issuing official letters to stores and restaurants in this regard.
As part of the Save our Sharks Project there is also an online petition running, encouraging local decision-makers to increase conservation measures for local sharks and to ban the selling of shark products. The petition can be signed at http://saveoursharks.nl/en/events/petition/
NEW YORK, NY – After a successful first edition in 2015, The Island of Flowers will again host world class competitors at Martinique Surf Pro from April 17th to 24th.
This World Surf League (WSL) Qualification Series event will take place along the northeastern Atlantic shores of Martinique, in the town of Basse-Pointe. It is one of the best surf spots, cherished by the experts, locals and visitors because of its powerful and long reef break waves. Organized by Martinique Surfing (www.martinique-surfing.com) in partnership with the WSL Qualifying Series, 155 international surfers are registered to date from the United States, Europe, Brazil, Japan and the Caribbean, to compete in one surfing’s best kept secret destinations, to earn WSL Qualifying Series points toward advancing to the WSL Championship Tour.
“I simply had to return to the Martinique Surf Pro”, said Joshua Moniz, winner of the 2015 Edition. “Last year, I had a great time and the waves were incredible. I really enjoyed this competition and exploring the island, so I couldn’t miss this second edition. Seeing such great waves at Basse-Pointe was a huge surprise. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting that and I couldn’t have imagined how much fun I would get from these waves. In fact, we don’t often get the opportunity to enjoy such conditions in the Qualifying Series.”
“Martinique counts about 14 recommended surfing spots from North to South, and offers ideal surfing conditions in warm waters”, said Muriel Wiltord, Director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau. “But the Island has much more to offer, blessed with a rich culture, a strong heritage, breathtaking natural beauty and most importantly, its warm and generous people. Martinique Surf Pro puts Martinique under the spot light as a not-to-be-missed surf destination and beyond...”
For more information on the first Martinique Surf Pro, visit www.martinique-surfing.com.
For more information on travel to Martinique, please visit www.us.martinique.org. For the latest, up-to-date Martinique Promotion Bureau press kit, journalists are encouraged to visit www.martiniquepresskit.com.
Volvo 60 Ambersail - Credit Tim Wright/photoaction.com
Pinel - Sunsail fleet Credit Tim Wright/photoaction.com
TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands - The BVI Sailing Festival Round Tortola Race for the Nanny Cay Cup and Nanny Cay Challenge started promptly at 09:30 on Tuesday morning in seas a little rougher than normal due to last week's high winds, and an easterly breeze of 18+ knots.
The trimaran Triple Jack, owned by Richard Wooldridge and Steve Davis (BVI), charged off the start to an early lead in the CSA Multihull class, making its way around the island in corrected time of 3:46:38, taking first place overall in the 2016 Nanny Cay Cup.
Trimaran Triple Jack, owned by Richard Wooldridge and Steve Davis (BVI) win the 2016 Nanny Cay Cup © Todd VanSickle
Steve and Heidi Benjamin's TP52 SPOOKIE © Todd VanSickle
Winner of the Bareboat class with Sunsail 441, Warvor, sailed by Willem Ellement, NED © Todd VanSickle/BVI Spring Regatta
GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Minister Hon. Ingrid Arrindell of the Ministry Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT), who was unable to attend Seatrade Cruise Global in Florida, last week due to the 2016 Budget discussions, was represented by her Chef de Cabinet Alex Dijkhoffz.
Dijkhoffz was part of the Port St. Maarten delegation that traveled to represent the destination at the leading annual global business-to-business event for the cruise industry, which brings together buyers and suppliers for a four-day conference and three-day exhibition.
Minister Arrindell was very pleased to hear about the successes booked by Port St. Maarten under the leadership of its Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo and his team at the cruise conference, such as becoming the homeport for Seabourn Cruises in December and for the Pullmantur Group, also for the start of the 2016-2017 cruise season.
Seabourn Cruises is a luxury cruise line that caters to high-end cruise passengers. The cruise line pioneered small-ship, ultra-luxury cruising, and continues to represent the pinnacle of that unique style of travel. Its fleet of intimate, all-suite ships, carrying between 450 and 600 guests each, sail to the world’s most desirable destinations at their peak seasons.
The Pullmantur Group will start homeporting in the latter part of 2016, and develop this business into a year-round service. This group focuses on cruise customers from Latin America and Europe. The vessels used carry approximately 1800 cruise passengers and 450-crew which would translate into approximately 25,000 additional visitors to the destination.
“The clientele from Seabourn Cruises are high-end tourists. Many of them usually arrive at the homeport destination in a private jet. This will mean more business activity for our airport. Prior to boarding the cruise ship, homeport tourists stay in a hotel two days prior to their cruise and two days after they return. This would translate into additional economic activity for various businesses.
“The Pullmantur Group is another significant boost for the destination as it will add additional tourists and business for the tourism and hospitality sector. It also serves part of the diversification of visitors to our island with respect to Latin American and European visitors.
“This will translate into a significant impact on our economy with spinoffs for transportation services, vessel provisioning from our food and beverage wholesalers; fueling services; hotels and villa rentals; as well as air transportation to the destination,” Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Ingrid Arrindell said on Wednesday after being briefed by her Chef de Cabinet about the success of the trip to Seatrade Cruise Global conference that concluded last week.
The conference drew more than 11,000 registered attendees, over 800 exhibiting companies from 93 countries and more than 300 international journalists to the Fort Lauderdale Broward Country Convention Center.
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