Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) Commissioner Jean-Pierre L. Oriol reminds the scientific community, as well as the public, that a permit is required to conduct all scientific research projects within the territory.
Under Virgin Islands law, “collectors for recognized museums, educational institutions, and scientific research organizations; persons engaged in bona fide scientific research in connection with such organizations; and persons engaged in approved recovery and propagation activities” are required to obtain a research permit prior to conducting any activity within the territory. Permits are available to conduct research activities on endangered species, scientific and educational projects, and for the visitation to offshore cays.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) issues approximately 80 permits per year. Projects range from the use of sargassum seaweed as fertilizer to exploring the types of spiders in the territory. Fish and Wildlife also issues permits for indigenous and exotic species retention, nuisance species collection, and mangrove trimming. Additionally, it collaborates with the Department of Agriculture in approving importation permits for non-indigenous species entering the territory.
DPNR also announces an upcoming series highlighting local research projects currently underway by the scientific community. The “Research Spotlight” series will include projects with lizards, corals, sediment sampling, earthworms, marine fish and invertebrates, marine turtles and agaves.
Among the permitted researchers are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), SEAS Islands Alliance, SEA Turtle Assistance Rescue (STAR), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
For further questions or the current permit application, contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 773-1082 on St. Croix or 776-6762 on St. Thomas/St. John, or visit the department website: www.dpnr.vi.gov.