Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
The Government of the Virgin Islands facilitated a series of workshops and public consultation meetings to promote and improve turtle conservation in the Territory.
The workshops were facilitated to advance and improve turtle conservation, and is a collaborative effort with the local non-profit Association of Reef Keepers (ARK) and the United Kingdom-based Marine Conservation Society (MCS).
Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Theodore James indicated that the workshops have been instructive, useful, and deeply engaging. He stated that the sessions have provided an opportunity for interested persons to be involved in a two-way flow of information that will help the department in its data-gathering process.
Mr. James added, “The viewing of a film on turtle conservation also addressed the challenges that are being faced with the responsible fishing of sea turtles in the Virgin Islands, and the feedback that was provided was informative and will aid in the department’s efforts to better manage this issue.”
Head of Ocean Recovery at the Marine Conservation Society, Dr. Peter Richardson stated that the level of involvement by persons in the community is indicative of the commitment that people in the Virgin Islands have towards the preservation of local culture while simultaneously engaging in responsible turtle fishing.
Dr. Richardson said, “The feedback from participants shows that a lot is being learned at the workshops, not only from scientists about our turtle populations, but also from the wisdom of those attending. The attendees include fishermen, tourism business representatives, visitors, and other key decision-makers.”
He also noted that one participant said the project provides the perfect bridge between community and conservation science, where ideas can be openly discussed in a positive, friendly and enjoyable atmosphere.
The final workshop was held on May 2, at 6:00 p.m. at Foxy’s Bar in Jost Van Dyke.This project is funded by the Darwin Plus United Kingdom Government fund. The University of Exeter has also provided technical support and research resources for this project.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is a department under the Premier’s Office of the Government of the Virgin Islands. It is responsible for ensuring that food is safe, nutritionally sound, produced and harvested in an environmentally sustainable manner that builds resilience to internal and external shocks while contributing to economic growth, social well-being and protection of the natural environment.
The Association of Reef Keepers (ARK) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to ensuring the preservation and sustainability of the BVI marine environment for the benefit of all future generations.
Darwin Plus is a UK government grants scheme that funds projects that aim to protect the unique biodiversity and improve resilience to climate change within the UK Overseas Territories. See https://darwinplus.org.uk/
The Marine Conservation Society is the United Kingdom’s leading ocean charity, advancing cleaner, better-protected, healthier seas. The charity works to highlight the importance of our ocean, and the life within it, through working with government, industry and education, to take action to restore and protect the marine environment.