Above: St John in the USVI
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has created an inter-agency effort to protect Caribbean coral reefs off the shores of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
The Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Group, which will include the EPA and other US government agencies, will coordinate efforts to protect coral reefs.
“The coral reefs of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are renowned for their beauty, and their ecological and economic value,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “Unfortunately, these treasures are being destroyed. By working with our fellow governmental agencies, the EPA will help make sure coral reefs continue to contribute to the region’s economy and ecology for generations to come.”
Damage to Caribbean coral reef ecosystems is coming from a number of factors, including overfishing, sediment runoff, pollution, disease and climate change. The latter is said to cause water to become warmer and more acidic.
The Group, led by EPA Region 2, will work to facilitate what it called a “”closer working relationship” among its member agencies.
The CCRPG will hold its first public “listening” session in St Thomas in the USVI Feb. 25.