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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesThe Future of Our Marine Ecosystem Lies in Our Hands

The Future of Our Marine Ecosystem Lies in Our Hands

Dear Source:
As a student I've heard many things about gill net fishing, like how this technique is done and it's impact. The facts are clear and are seen everyday. Gill net fishing can have a catastrophic effect in our coastal waters. This method was introduced after the devastating hurricane Hugo which resulted the loss of fixed gears to fish. I can understand that the fisher men had to find another way to get back in business in a more affordable, and a faster time saving way. No one knew they would go to such drastic lengths to accomplish this. This is the decision that is leading to this catastrophic effect in our coastal waters.
Most fishermen deliberately use this technique and know this method is wrong and the impact of it, and yet they still continue with their actions. They set their gill nets on reefs, damaging them. Damaging our reefs is one of the biggest mistakes that can happen. Where there are no coral reefs our local fishes have nothing to depend on to survive. Those fishes will probably die and the rest that are lucky to survive will just migrate elsewhere to find food and shelter. Along with these things happening the situation will affect us more. For some of us no fish means no food or no money.
Is that what we want to have an empty ocean for ourselves which would be useless to us. Our sea would be a dirty, lifeless place even unhealthy to go for a swim. We must protect our precious reefs. We have to think about all the animals and fishes and especially our endangered species that depend on our reefs. Too much of them are caught up in the gill nets and thrown away as unwanted fishes. So many unwanted fishes are caught up in the gill net that this is leading to more endangered species added to the list. More money that the government has to spend to protect those species. That same money could have been save or for spent on something that couldn't be avoided. There are other ways to fish safer and even though it will be more challenging, that is a sacrifice that our fishermen have to take to secure a future for the Virgin Islands marine ecosystem.
These are my opinion why we should ban the use of gill net fishing.
Mindel Norbal
St. Croix

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