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Is it legal in STT to?

Boston...
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for St. Thomas, East End
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Is it legal in STT to?

Been here a week and could have a full time job keeping people from standing, walking, and damaging the coral reef at Sapphire

My question is should I get a BB gun, spear gun, taser, or 22 to keep these idiots of the reef I wouldn't kill any one just a flesh shot

Seriously, does anyone have any idea how to get the cruise ships and resorts to educate these people. They don't do it knowingly they just don't understand.

The same is true about feeding the fish, iguanas, ducks, and now feral cats and chickens.

Anyone have any ideas?

New Jersey
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1. Re: Is it legal in STT to?

Bill-

I'll be down on Friday. I say we dress up in army fatigues with heavy weaponry. In all seriousness, is it possible to alert the owners of the dive shop that before they rent out chairs or snorkel gear to give a simple reminder to these folks? Seems to methat a simple , hey you big dope! Stay off the coral might do the trick.

St. Thomas
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2. Re: Is it legal in STT to?

This seems to a common problem at Sapphire. I think the shallow reef in close proximity to the beach is root of the problem. Having high turnover in resort and cruiseship guests gives very little time for an orientation on safe reef practices. Proper education is the solution to this problem. If you are serious about combatting this problem I would suggest getting in contact with the outreach coordinators at both DPNR and UVI. These are the sort of issues they work on daily and they have lots of literature that they could be passed on to the owner's of the units in Sapphire and hopefully placed in the unit each time a guest checks in. While a pamphlet is not the solution it is a start. Other beaches around St. Thomas and St. John have large colorful signs that talk about the reef and how it should be treated (check out the one at Brewer's Bay). I think it would be worthwhile if anyone on the forum is an owner at Sapphire to raise this idea at a condo association meeting.

It is also important how tourists who damage the reef are talked to. Yelling at people that they are harming the reef is hardly the way to encourage them to protect corals. People will immediately become defensive and disregard what is probably sound advice. Being able to approach a tourist and explain a little about how delicate coral reefs are, maybe mentioning the slow growth rate of coral will help them understand what an strong negative impact they may have on the reef.

Hurley, New York
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3. Re: Is it legal in STT to?

I would start simply with conspicuous signs at all points of entry. Might even be worthwhile to have ;languages other than English.

If it is found to be illegal wouldn't hurt to cite the law including penalties.

It may be illegal under international law, or by treaty, sort of like that migratory fowl treaty that the US is signatory to that makes it illegal to disturb a bird's nest even after the birds have finished using it.

Another approach would be signs stating something like "WARNING Skin contact with coral can cause severe chemical burns. If you inadvertently contact coral with unprotected skin immediately seek medical attention"

Steve

Hurley, New York
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4. Re: Is it legal in STT to?

The following hyperlink is interesting, although discouraging

wcl.american.edu/environment/iel/sup3.cfm

Check our 2. under "questions and discussion".

St Thomas
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for St. Thomas
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5. Re: Is it legal in STT to?

Bill, hook on a scuba tank and patrol the reef hoisting a very large black fin ...

Why are there no large signs on the beach at Sapphire? The same suggestion was made a few years back and it seems a logical start.

Visitors, please don't stand on the reefs and please don't feed the fish with dog biscuits or anything else!!!

Hurley, New York
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6. Re: Is it legal in STT to?

I'm sure the reason is that no one wants to pay for signs.

In any event, for aesthetic reasons I would not put the signs on the beach. I would place then at entrances to the beach.

Bonaire
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for Bonaire
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7. Re: Is it legal in STT to?

Keep up the good work Bill! I wish I had the answer to your question. There is a place where we've stayed in Provo, where the beach attendant from the resort stands in front of the reef and blows a very loud whistle when someone is standing on or touching the coral. He will then yell and call them out for some good ole public humiliation. It seems to be effective. But I'm not sure that you want to spend your vacation that way?

I think the answer starts with the cruise ships. They are, after all, responsible for dumping masses of people onto the island and sending them to the reef. I've peeked at the cruise critic board on occasion (just out of curiosity), and I see people dispensing advice on feeding the fish. I've seen people advise taking cheez whiz into the water! I just wrote a piece about fish feeding. Feel free to use it if you think it would be helpful somewhere.

reeftraveler.com/2012/02/why-cant-i-feed-the…

STTResident, I love your idea!

Hampton Roads, VA
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8. Re: Is it legal in STT to?

....I really like the fin idea...

Hurley, New York
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9. Re: Is it legal in STT to?

Bill, having spent countless hours snorkeling that reef, I am also concerned.

Just a few thoughts.

First, I feel that the governemnt of the VI, having effectively confiscated the right of the owners of beachfront property to deny the public access to what was a private beach when the property was purchased ,should assume responsibility for controlling the public's use and abuse of the beach.,

Nonetheless, considering the level of government efficiency, it would be better to try to solve the problem "informally".

I would suggest the formation of a very small committee consisting of one representative from each of the four properties, appointed by the BOG of each CA, one member appointed by the HSSTT and one additional member selected by those five.

The first action should be to request each CA to fund the committee with an amount of $5.00 each year for each living unit of the property (regardless of the size of the unit)

The second action should be to contact the publisher of that "tourist brochure" that has a photo of someone feeding an iguana and suggest that the space be used for a suitable admonition about feeding wildlife. The publishers of the other TBs should also be requested to include such an admonition in all of their publications.

Signs should be posted at all entrances to the beach, as far from the beach as practicable, with appropriate advice..

A small placard, with appropriate advice should be prepared and given to every unit owner that rents, or otherwise makes their unit available to others, unit, to place in their unit.

Assuming that you are correct that the majority of offenders are not "owners and their guests" at the Sapphire properties, the owners of the four Sapphire properties should to the maximum extent permitted by law, attempt to impede access to the beach by other than owners and their guests.

Each property, of course, has its unique considerations, but the following should be implemented If an entrance control (gate) is in place.it should be moved as close to the road as practicable, and buses and taxis not be permitted beyond the gate.

The properties involved should not make "convenience items" such as beach chairs, available to people other than owners and their guests.

People posting responses to this forum in response to questions from people not staying in one of the four properties about beaches to visit should voluntarily extoll the desirability of Coki, Magan's, and other island beaches and either emphasize the problems (real or imagined) that exist at Sapphire (such as how crowded it is on "heavy cruise days" ) , or simply refrain from recommending Sapphire.

The various businesses that operate near the beach should be encouraged to permit the committee to place instructional signage (supplied by the committee) signage on their place of business, including boats.

This post should open even more discussion than my suggestion for traveling between Coki and Sapphire ("I don't know why you would want to snorkel at Sapphire anyway, the snorkeling is so much better at Coki" or my citation of an airport sign.

Steve

Geneseo, Illinois
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530 posts
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10. Re: Is it legal in STT to?

I have mentioned many times to the dive shop guys that they need to be specific, "If it looks like a rock, don't stand on it". We were supposed to be getting new signs. Steve, I love your ideas, but the beach is public and Dive

In! makes their living off the cruise ship folks. I'm not sure any of it makes any difference to the cruisers. There's plenty of trash cans and yet they leave their garbage all over the beach anyway. After all, for them it's just one day and then off to destroy another reef.