Whether one is sailing across the azure blue waters, diving or snorkeling one of the many coral reefs, or sitting on the beach, the marine environment is one of the most popular attractions in the BVI. This natural resource has many different types of habitats such as mangroves, sea grass beds, coral reefs, sandy flats, trenches and sea mounts. Within these habitats live hundreds of different species of fish, invertebrates and plants. There are also a number of marine mammals such as dolphins, pilot whales and humpback whales that migrate seasonally to the BVI and there are four types of sea turtle that may be found in our waters.
The marine environment is very fragile and its sustainability is susceptible to being destroyed, not only by anthropogenic influences but also from climate change. Without protecting the marine environment, there would be no fish to eat, nowhere to dive or snorkel and the coastline would be in danger of eroding.
The Department, in collaboration with the BVI National Parks Trust is in the process of creating Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) throughout the BVI. These areas along with the Fishery Protected Areas already made into law, will protect about 30% of the natural resource. This is an aggressive but very much needed move to ensure the sustainability of one of our most popular natural resources.