The Department of Fisheries has expressed concern over the prevalent use of coral by business houses, restaurants, hotels, craft vendors and home owners. As there appears to be an increasing trend to use corals for decoration and handicrafts.
Under the Fisheries Act Cap 7.15, it is illegal to collect, damage, use, sell, buy or be in possession of any type of coral. This includes live and dead coral, and refers to both “hard” and “soft” corals, including sea fans, sea whips, black coral, and brown coral. The prohibited use includes the collection and use of coral from the wild, and all coral rubble which may be found on the beach or along the coastline.
Coral found on the beach breaks down over time to form the basis of our white sandy beaches. These beaches provide critical habitats for numerous species and areas for recreation by locals and visitors alike. Constant extraction or removal of coral from the environment can impact our beaches and have long term negative implications.
These regulations are in place to protect Saint Lucia’s coral reefs and beaches. Coral Reefs serve as natural barriers for shoreline protection, interesting sites for scuba and snorkel tourism, and as a biologically rich critical marine resource.
In light of the above, the department urges the general public, business houses, craft vendors, and business owners and operators of souvenir shops to adhere to these regulations. Anyone found in possession of coral and coral-based items, or engaging in the sale of such items may be liable to a fine of up to $5,000.
For details, information, or to arrange educational activities, contact the Department of Fisheries at 758.468.4135/4141.