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NOAA resumes study of Virgin Islands coral

coral reef

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Tuesday that it has begun a study of coral reefs and fish populations in the Virgin Islands.

Scientists will collect data on reefs surrounding St. Thomas and St. John through July 23 as part of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, the federal agency said in a statement.

Similar work was carried out earlier this summer in St. Croix.

“These partnership efforts provide local resource managers and communities with the information needed to make management decisions that support both the resources and the people who depend on them,” NOAA said.

The NOAA mission has the support of other entities such as the National Park Service, the University of the Virgin Islands, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources.

In March, NOAA resumed its 12-year expedition to map seafloor habitats and identify fish populations in waters around the U.S. Virgin Islands.

NOAA scientists have mapped nearly 3,430 sq. kilometers (1,324 sq. miles) since 2004 and their research partners continue exploring the waters surrounding Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, identifying and mapping critical coral reef and fisheries habitat with sonar and video observations.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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