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Department of fisheries issues strong warning against coral use

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Friday 27 May 2011 The Department of Fisheries is concerned over the prevalent use of coral by business houses, restaurants and hotels and home owners. There appears to be an increasing trend to use coral in these locations as a form of decoration. The Department is also concerned that coral is being used in the making of handicrafts, jewelry, and other forms of souvenirs.


Under the Fisheries Regulations, No, 9 of 1994, it is illegal to collect, damage, use, sell, buy or have in one’s possession coral of any kind. This includes live and dead coral, and refers to both the typical “hard” forms of coral and also the range of “soft” corals (including sea fans, sea whips, black coral, and brown coral).


This prohibition includes the collection and use of coral from the wild (e.g., from in the sea), and persons must realize that the law also protects all coral rubble which may be found on the beach or in other parts of the coastal area.


You may want to ask why laws pertaining to the protection of all forms of corals are so strict.   Well Saint Lucia’s total coral reef resource is extremely limited, yet it is vitally important for Local reef (pot) fisheries, for shoreline protection, scuba and snorkel tourism, and as a biologically rich critical marine resource.


Even dead coral skeletons form a vital part of local beach material and, when broken down over time they form the basis of Saint Lucia’s white sandy beaches.


Persons found violating this aspect of the Fisheries Regulations can be fined up to $5,000.00.


In light of the above, the department is seeking the support of business houses, crafts persons, owners and operators of souvenir shops and souvenir vendors in giving full support to this local restriction on the use of coral and coral-based items.

The department will be engaging in island-wide inspections, and anyone found to be in possession of coral or coral-based items or engaging in the sale of such items may be liable to a fine under the fisheries regulations.

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