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Coastal Zone Management

St. Thomas East End Reserves

The St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER) is comprised of three main marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, Cas Cay /Mangrove Lagoon, Great St. James, and the Compass Point Salt Pond. These marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries(MRWS) encompass 9.6 km2 of ecologically, and culturally, significant coastal, marine, and fisheries resources, including mangrove forests, salt ponds, lagoons, reefs, and cays.


Collectively, these habitats within the Mangrove Lagoon / Benner Bay area were designated an Area of Particular Concern(APC) in 1979, as the south-eastern end of St. Thomas is understood to be one of the most valuable remaining nurseries for fish and wildlife on the island, with many commercial and recreational marine species spending a portion of their lives protected in the shallow mangrove and seagrass beds. However, there was no comprehensive management plan for these MRWS.

St. Croix East End Marine Park

The mission of the STXEEMP is to promote the responsible use and management of significant coastal and marine resources through research and monitoring, education, restoration, and community engagement to protect, and preserve the ecological and cultural value for residents and visitors.

STXEEMP Rules and Regulation

The Marine park is compose of four distinct zones.
Provides areas for snorkeling, diving, boating, and shoreline recreational fishing. Marine Park permits may also be issued for catch-and-release guide fishing and cast-net bait fishing. All other traditional fishing is prohibited (including spearfishing, fish traps/pots, gillnets, fishing from boat, and the harvest of conch, lobster and whelk – regardless of territorial seasonal closures/opening).
Designed to protect the near-shore environments and encompasses large bordering diverse habitats. These areas provide a safe haven for spawning, nursery and permanent residence marine life. Diving with a flag and snorkeling are permitted in this area; no fishing or extraction of any kind is permitted to include the following: spearfishing, fish traps/pots, gillnets, fishing from boat, and the harvest of conch, lobster and whelk – regardless of territorial seasonal closures/opening.
Designated for the offshore waters of East End, Isaac and Jack Bays, which experience high densities of sea turtle nesting activity. This area extends to 1.25 miles from the beach.
This area has no restrictions on fishing, boating, or diving activities. This area is governed by all the rules and regulations pertaining to commercial and recreational fishing in the Virgin Islands Code and Rules and Regulations established by the Division of Fish & Wildlife. Trawling and general shipping are prohibited, as well as those activities inconsistent with STXEEMP’s long-term conservation (e.g., mining and oil drilling).

Visitor Center

Demonstration Coral Nursery
Outreach and Education

Areas of Particular Concern

St. Thomas

St. John

St. Croix