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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesProtecting Precious Resources

Protecting Precious Resources

Dear Source:

I think gillnetting is an issue that has not been taken seriously. We need to inform the general public before it's too late. I was recently informed about the issue in my Environmental Science class. When I listened to how negatively gillnetting is impact the
ocean I thought it was obvious that gillnetting should be banned. Gillnetting was introduced after Hurricane Hugo. After the hurricane many pot fishers, couldn't afford to replace the expensive gear that was lost. Sales representatives from Florida came to the Virgin Islands to sell the nets that could no longer be sold in Florida, after the nets had been banned there in 1994. It's clear that this was just a money making venture for the sales representatives of Florida. They cared nothing about the effect that gillnetting would have on the oceans of the Virgin Islands.
Gillnetting is not a very efficient way to fish. When you fish using a gillnet you just collect the entire catch, then the net is carried home. Can you believe they actually pick out the fish they want and just dump the rest? They are wasting tons of fish each time they go fishing. They often catch more fish than they can sell; when the fish are no longer fresh they throw them away. This method of fishing should be banned no questions asked.
Gillnetting also has a devastating effect on the coral reefs. The selective catch of gillnetting is the parrot fish. The parrot fish play a very important role in keeping the corals healthy. Parrot fish feed on the algae that can overgrow on the reefs. They set the nets in the route that the fish travel to get back and forth from their feeding ground to their resting ground. The corals are often damaged, they are broken or even pulled up out of the ground by the gillnets. It is clear that gillnetting brings nothing but harm to the ocean.
Gillnetting has also endangered the lives of snorkelers. It was recently reported that gillnets were placed along the shoreline blocking divers from getting back to the shore. Derrick Hill, the owner of N2 the Blue said, "that not too long after one of the instructors took a diving student into the water, he heard screams". "A diver was trapped in the water, the point of exit and entry was blocked by the net. "The fishermen refused to move the boat or the net," said Hill. He said, "that it is hard to get your body and gear over the net without something getting caught in the net, this could have turned into a tragic event."
Gillnetting should be banned there's no questions about it. If all the negative impacts that gillnetting is having on our oceans doesn't open your eyes I don't know what will. Please don't wait until it's too late and the damages are irreversible. We need to protect one of our most precious resources. Don't take this issue lightly please let your voice be heard.
Xiomara Garcia
Virgin Islands

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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