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Guides & Resources

Below are a variety of resources which can help answer some of the most common questions about the marine environment and how best to help look after it here on St. Croix.

Heading to the beach?

GotoStCroix has a thorough beach guide for the whole island so you can choose before you leave the house!

Fishing in the territory?
A recreational fishing license is now required. Find out more here: https://www.usvifishinglicense.org/
The comprehensive guide to fishing in the territory can be found here.

Fishing offshore and/or targeting tuna? You also need to take a look at the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council information for regulations in federal waters of the US Caribbean, and you might need a Highly Migratory Species permit, issued by the federal government.

You might also want to check out the Reef Responsible program which helps you select species with a lower impact on the reef ecosystem.

Learn more about Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, the most acute threat to reefs in the Virgin Islands, including how to identify and report it. VICoralDisease.org

Sea turtles love St. Croix! Let’s help love them back with some simple actions that can mean life or death to these ancient mariners.

Learn how to protect turtles on land, or more about reporting turtles in trouble.

If you should encounter a turtle in danger anywhere in the Virgin Islands call Sea Turtle Assistance and Rescue at 340-690-0474 to receive assistance and guidance from trained, permitted responders.  Put the number in your phone today! 

Short-term anchoring is allowed in Park waters and throughout the territory; please choose sandy areas to protect coral reefs and seagrass beds. During the COVID state of emergency, anchoring in one place for consistently but for less than 14 days requires a permit from the Division of Environmental Enforcement (340-773-5774)

Mooring your boat?
There are 3 areas in the Park that are established for personal moorings and long-term anchoring. Those areas are Chenay Bay, Teague Bay (St. Croix Yacht Club) and Cottongarden Bay (Cramer’s Park). Please contact the Division of Environmental Enforcement (340-773-5774) regarding moorings in these areas; permits are required before installation.

Wondering what you can do to secure your boat in hurricane season (June 1-November 30)? Several boats have caused damage to EEMP reefs as a result of tropical storms and hurricanes.  Check out these resources from BOAT U.S.

Sargassum (2 species) is a naturally occurring free-floating seaweed that is a familiar sight in the open waters of the Atlantic. It provides an important floating habitat for a variety of pelagic species, especially those in their larval and juvenile stages, including mahi-mahi and turtles, where they benefit from the protective cover it provides. On the beach, it is an important foraging grounds for migratory and resident shorebirds, and helps build and retain sand beaches.

However, in large quantities, it can degrade nearshore water quality and produce a pungent odor (primarily hydrogen sulfide). The degraded water quality can impact seagrass and coral, and sea turtle adults and hatchlings can struggle to reach the sea.

The Caribbean has been seeing a longer Sargassum season and greater quantities deposited on beaches since the early 2000s and it is posing a challenge to marine and coastal managers throughout the region. Research suggests that increased regional nutrient inputs from South America and the African continent may be at the root of this change. The Atlantic did an excellent story on the situation in 2019.

Here's a helpful guide to how we can respond to sargassum influxes in St. Croix, from the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.

Making home improvements?
Before you start on a home improvement project that involves heavy machinery, changing the footprint of your home, installing new structures, adding rocks to the shoreline or putting any structure (including trampolines) in the water, please contact DPNR to ensure you obtain the correct permits. This can save you headaches and fines in the long run!

If you live in the coastal zone (check here), you need a coastal zone permit in addition to a building permit for some improvements.

Why do I even need a permit?
DPNR reviews permits to ensure minimum damage to natural resources and may suggest modifications to your proposal to protect our natural resources.

The permitting process allows DPNR to look at a holistic view of the ensemble of current and proposed activities in an area to ensure that natural resources on land and in the nearshore area are not overburdened with, or endangered by, proposed developments.

Virgin Islands Mooring Guide SOON COME
Marine Resources Guide SOON COME

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