Support for sharks

While covering a recent lecture about coral reefs, a Beaconite took interest in an aside about shark fishing by Oxford University researcher Dr. Bryan Wilson. He recently dived in the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean to study coral reefs, but the United Kingdom government patrol boat he worked aboard also sought to stop shark poaching and other illegal fishing. Shockingly, he said one of the boats they stopped contained more than 4,000 dead sharks. Any abuse of fish populations is disturbing, but sharks play an especially important role in marine ecosystems. They help keep waters clean by eating dead animals and keep species populations in check by eating live ones. Here in the Virgin Islands, they are one of the only predators to highly invasive lionfish. Yet they continue to be overfished around much of the world. Sharks are also still often maligned in the media, but they are essential to Caribbean reefs and habitats worldwide. The reporter would certainly give a shark a wide berth if she encountered one in the wild, but she finds them fascinating and hopes they soon get the recognition and respect that they deserve.

Pier park

A Beaconite made a quick visit to Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park last week to get a piece of jewellry repaired. It was coincidentally on a day with no cruise ships in port, and a security officer patrolling the streets was the only person keeping her company. Most of her recent visits to the pier park seem to have fallen on particularly busy days, so there was something exceptionally relaxing about being able to enjoy a book and fresh juice on a bench overlooking the street. The reporter is glad that businesses seem to be doing well despite the recent daylight robbery at the pier park and hopes the community continues to support them through this time.

Heating up

As weather gets warmer across the globe, a Beaconite hopes that the hurricane season in the territory remains relatively calm. The Virgin Islands still hasn’t fully recovered from the impacts of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and it would be a devastating blow if another hurricane were to rip through the territory. Lawmakers are already having a difficult time allocating resources to properly build the territory’s infrastructure, which continues to face issues. Roads, water, and electricity are key indicators of how well-developed a country or territory is, and the reporter hopes that all these areas see major improvements in the years to come. While the territory has its rustic charm, residents deserve a better standard of living that doesn’t involve frequent power outages and vehicle damage caused by the potholes in the roads. Residents put up with it because they have to, but that doesn’t mean that they should. Many other places in the world assure their residents that these basic needs will be met, especially since residents pay taxes. The reporter hopes that leaders’ intentions to improve the territory’s infrastructure are put into action rather than getting lost in bureaucratic red tape.