Press Release

Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration
Release Date:
Wednesday, 8 November 2017 - 3:35pm

The public is reminded that sand mining in the Territory is illegal according to the Beach Protection Ordinance CAP 233

Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick Pickering said removal of any natural barrier against the sea; including sand, stone, gravel or shingle from any land that is part of the shoreline is not allowed. He added that the removal of even small quantities from beaches results in damage over a long period of time.

 Honourable Pickering said a study carried out by the University of Amsterdam in 2014 on the Territory’s Tourism Industry and the Value of Nature in the British Virgin Islands stated that beaches are the most important ecological assets in the Virgin Islands.

He said, “Our beaches are a treasure and along with other natural features contribute an estimated $194.3 million to our economy.  This underscores the importance of maintaining our beaches in their pristine and natural state”.

Minister Pickering reiterated the importance of preserving the Territory’s beaches and stressed that it is in everyone’s interest to get involved.

He said, “The recent extreme weather events, including the August Monday Floods and Hurricanes Irma and Maria have negatively impacted the integrity of our beaches as most of the coastal vegetation has been lost - now more than ever our beaches are susceptible to erosion and hence must be protected.”

The Minister further added that beaches are not only important for recreation, but also support nesting leatherback and hawksbill turtles along with shore and seabirds.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour is committed to the preservation of the Territory’s marine and terrestrial environment.  For further information, please contact the Ministry at telephone number 468-2147 or email


Berta McKelly Adams

Assistant Information Officer
Department of Information & Public Relations 
Telephone: 468-2740