The USVI Sustainable Seafood Initiative Officially Launched 2014
The Nature Conservancy’s US Virgin Islands Program and partners – DPNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, NOAA Fisheries, UVI Marine Science, St. Croix Reef Jam, and A Taste of St. Croix are proud to officially launch the Reef Responsible Sustainable Seafood Initiative.
The Reef Responsible Initiative was designed to help create a sustainable seafood industry in the US Virgin Islands. Partner organizations worked to develop a suite of outreach materials and have provided training to local restaurants on St. Croix. These restaurants received information on seasonal closures, size restrictions, and the “Good Choice, Go Slow, and Don’t Eat” seafood list, which were all developed based on current fishery regulations and the best available science. Restaurants that have participated in Reef Responsible training are then invited to become members of the Reef Responsible Initiative, are branded as a Reef Responsible Certified Restaurant, and are celebrated for their commitment towards supporting and helping to improve our local fishery.
Not only important for our fishery, this initiative will also help to improve the health of our coral reefs. Reefs can be negatively impacted from the over-harvest of herbivorous fishes (parrotfishes, doctorfish, blue tangs, ocean surgeons, etc.), which remove algae from reefs; providing space for corals to inhabit. As we know, coral reefs are important for the marine habitat and coastal defense that they provide, but people also benefit from coral reefs as they are a big part of the cultural heritage of many islanders and are the main reason many tourists visit our beautiful islands (next to our warm personalities and gorgeous smiles). By making conscious decisions about the seafood that we catch, purchase, prepare, and serve we can all become “reefsponsible” and can work together to improve the health of our coral reefs and ensure that the seafood that we enjoy today may also be enjoyed for generations to come.
How can you help? Support our local commercial fishers, purchase seafood when in season or within the correct size restrictions, and support our Reef Responsible Certified Restaurants: Tutto Bene, eat @ cane bay, Café Christine, Twin City Coffee House, The Terrace, The Mermaid, Savant, Dashi, and Empress Fresh Foods. For more information about the Reef Responsible Sustainable Seafood Initiative, contact Kemit-Amon Lewis at The Nature Conservancy (340) 718-5575 or [email protected]. See Food Sustainably!