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TCI Turtles Fitted with Satellite Transmitters on the Move!

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ATI (2 of 5)

ATI (3 of 5)Providenciales, 14 May 2015 – Two more teenage green turtles have been captured and fitted with hi-tech satellite transmitters, then released on the Caicos Banks as part of ongoing research by the Turks and Caicos Islands Turtle Project (TCITP) to find out about the movements of these spectacular animals. At the beginning of the month TCITP staff from the UK’s Marine Conservation Society, the Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs (DEMA) and the Amanyara Resort worked with South Caicos fishermen to catch the turtles and attach the transmitters.

While one of the turtles, named Sea Biscuit, has remained close to Ocean Hole where they were released 10 days ago, the other turtle, Yara, started heading west yesterday, possibly on a ‘developmental migration’, a rarely recorded and poorly understood behavior that the project hopes to track.

“Little is known about the habits and movements of sub-adult, or teenage, turtles. Unlike nesting adult female turtles, these teenagers spend all their time at sea and so are less accessible and much harder to study,” said Dr Peter Richardson of the Marine Conservation Society, “We can track these turtles in TCI because we work with South Caicos fishermen who are experts at catching them, and so far in this research we recorded TCI teenage turtle developmental migrations to Colombia, Cuba and North Carolina in the USA.”

So far the TCITP has tracked 19 turtles, including 13 teenage green turtles, four adult hawksbills and 2 adult green turtles, one of which was Suzie. Suzie was the first turtle to be tracked in TCI and in 2009 migrated over 3,700 miles through the territories of 15 different countries before returning to TCI in January 2010.

“The recent movements of Yara are very exciting, this turtle could be migrating away from TCI and if so, we really don’t know where she is going, so we’ll be experiencing new scientific discovery before our very eyes,” said Dr Richardson, “We are so very grateful to the support of the Amanyara Turtle Initiative and Amanyara guests Stephen Meringoff and Kim Charlton for generously supporting this exciting research – and thanks to them anyone can track the journeys of these amazing animals by going to the Marine Conservation Society’s website where there are dedicated TCI turtle tracking pages.”

Green turtles are listed as ‘endangered’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and are considered a culturally important marine resource in the Turks and Caicos Islands. They have been fished and enjoyed for centuries in the TCI, and, in more recent decades, have also been a highlight for many divers and snorkelers holidaying in the islands. The tracking study hopes to understand which feeding areas are important to these large green turtles in TCI waters, whether or not these areas need protection, and which other countries share green turtle populations with the TCI

The TCITP is a collaborative initiative involving DEMA, local fishermen, the UK’s Marine Conservation Society and University of Exeter, Duke University in the USA, the School for Field Studies in South Caicos and the Amanyara Resort in Providenciales. The Project has been carrying out biological research, social research and extensive stakeholder engagement with fishing communities in the TCI since 2008, primarily through former Project Officer Amdeep Sanghera.

The TCITP’s recommendations, which were produced through consultation with fishermen, to amend and improve the legislation that regulates the TCI’s traditional turtle fishery were approved by TCI Government last year and came into force in July. The new regulations introduced new size limits, including 18 inch minimum shell length and 24 inch maximum shell length size limits for green and hawksbill turtles. These new limits protect small turtles, as well as large teenage and breeding adult turtles in TCI, but still allow fishers to access juvenile turtles of a good eating size. An eight-month closed season for hawksbills was also introduced during the lobster open season, which gives hawksbill turtles additional protection during their peak breeding season.

The new turtle fishery regulations, including the new size limits, have been printed on T-shirts bearing a turtle image and the slogan “Size Matters in the Turks and Caicos Islands” and are currently being distributed by DEMA to promote the new laws.

Sea Biscuit and Yara are larger than 24 inch shell length and so are now protected under TCI fishery laws. The tracking study hopes to discover where these teenage turtles go and understand whether or not they are protected in the other countries they visit.

DEMA respectfully requests anyone encountering a turtle fitted with a satellite transmitter in TCI waters to please leave it well alone and report it to DEMA officers. People are encouraged to track the turtles online by logging into www.mcsuk.org/conservation_in_action/Marine+turtles/Tracking+turtles

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Cuban Nationals Apprehended in Bahamian waters

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#TheBahamas, June 24, 2021 – A group of Cuban Nationals are currently being detained at the Carmichael Road Detention Center after they were apprehended in the south west Bahamas by a US Coast Guard vessel earlier this week.

The fifteen individuals were captured after being sighted on Anguilla Cay on Tuesday 22 June. They were taken aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter, CHARLES SEXTON, and handed over shortly after 7:00 pm to the Defence Force patrol craft, HMBS DURWARD KNOWLES, under the command of Senior Lieutenant Jataro McDonald.

The Cubans were subsequently brought into the capital early Thursday morning, where they were handed over to the relevant authorities. The Cuban Embassy has since been notified. 

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force continues to maintain a vigilant presence while patrolling and protecting the territorial waters of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and working with other law enforcement agencies.

Photos shows: Cuban nationals shortly after their arrival at the Defence Force Base, Coral Harbour on Thursday June 24, 2021. (RBDF Photo by Petty Officer Al Rahming)

 (For further information please contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our website: www.rbdf.gov.bs, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and view our Youtube channel)

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U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS GOVERNOR ASKS FLORIDA COUNTERPART TO CONSIDER VACCINATION CHECKS FOR CRUISE PASSENGERS

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Governor Albert Bryan Jr. cites concerns around unvaccinated cruise passengers arriving in the Caribbean

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (June 11, 2021) – Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands Albert Bryan Jr. has made a plea to his Florida colleague, Governor Ron DeSantis, to honor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and reconsider the state’s legislation, which could impact the health and wellbeing of millions of Caribbean residents when cruises to the region resume.
As increasing numbers of Americans receive COVID-19 vaccinations, Governor Bryan believes that ensuring the cruise industry reopens with vaccinated passengers is essential to the tourism economies of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the wider Caribbean.
Congratulating the Florida governor for his commitment to health, civil liberties and economic revitalization, Governor Bryan called for an exception – one that would enable vaccination checks for outbound passengers on cruise ships, which do most of their business on the open seas and directly impact the multiple Caribbean islands they visit.

“The bill you signed into law (which goes into effect July 1, 2021) may negatively impact the United States Virgin Islands and other port of call destinations in the Caribbean region,” said Governor Bryan, who highlighted CDC approvals for cruise ships to begin sailing this summer from U.S. ports with strict health and safety guidelines, such as the vaccination of 95% of passengers and crew members

With Florida serving as the nucleus and biggest embarkation point for cruises in the United States that dock in the U.S. Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean, the Governor indicated that “our ports … are in direct line of fire,” adding that while the two hospitals in the U.S. Virgin Islands are equipped to care for the Territory’s residents, they lack the resources to address a potentially larger public health crisis. “The lack of infrastructure puts us at a disadvantage for any crisis – health or mother nature. This is true of not only the Virgin Islands but most of the countries in the region,” the Governor penned.
With this reality, the governor expressed his concern for all citizens in the Caribbean region: “This is why I implore you to reconsider with a lens to the negative impact that your legislation may have on residents in the Caribbean … the cruise line and tourism employees, many of whom are of Caribbean descent, are now almost fully vaccinated and ready to get back to work.” 

“Please consider the exemption proposed above so … Caribbean (destinations) can feel safe on arrival and disembarkation of cruise passengers and crew. This will be a big win for the people of the Caribbean and the Caribbean expatriates that live in your state. It is my hope that you can assist us in moving in the same direction while respecting regional health liberties,” he affirmed. Governor Bryan has also shared a communiqué with the leadership of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) inviting support from regional leaders to work with the USVI in finding an agreeable path forward to welcoming cruise ships and their passengers back to the islands in as safe a way as possible.
About the U.S. Virgin IslandsFor more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to VisitUSVI.com, follow us on Instagram (@visitusvi) and Twitter (@usvitourism), and become a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/VisitUSVI). When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel – including on-line check-in – making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.

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Turquoise Gold; how TCI’s slice of the Atlantic Ocean does more than boost Tourism

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#TurksandCaicos, May 18, 2021 – Dig ten feet down and you will find turquoise gold!  Hidden in the porous limestone bedrock of Providenciales is same stuff which has rocketed Turks and Caicos Islands to superstar status when it comes to luxury tourism.  It may surprise Provo residents that the enveloping commodity and pristine natural resource serves another practical purpose; it is the same safe, tasty, reliable drinking water flowing from our taps.

Turks and Caicos’ slice of the Atlantic Ocean is also the life sustaining water used to clean, cook, drink and grow gardens thanks to Provo Water Company, which has been supplying city water since 1997.

As the company commemorated its 10th year of Drinking Water Week, executives agreed to a throw-back to a decade ago with Magnetic Media and it is a refreshing story.

“Ten years ago we had probably 120 miles of pipeline, currently we have 136 miles and there is additional pipeline scheduled for the next two to three years in various areas. Communities like Five Cays, Blue Hills, Chalk Sound – just about everywhere and that is just additional pipeline that we’re putting in to make sure we can connect new customers,” said Robert C. Hall, the personable Managing Director of Provo Water Company.

Mr. Hall, during the interview, often referenced the company’s 20-year development plan; a plan which embraces the liberties of being wholly, a privately owned company. 

Just under a decade ago, Provo Water Company bought the Turks and Caicos Islands government’s 46 per cent stake in the water company for a reported $7.5 million; today it is a healthy set-up which in 2018 peaked at distribution of two million gallons of water in a single day.   

“We are looking at how we are going to supply the islands for the next 20 years and the major component of that plan is a second water plant on the northwest side of the island,” explained Mr. Hall at the Provo Water Company’s accredited laboratory overlooking western Leeward Highway. 

The 20 year plan obviously does more than look at expansion, it also considers contingency.

“The objective is to be able to supply the island from either director if that need arises.  So if we had a catastrophe in Grace Bay, we would be able to supply the island from northwest end and vice versa,” said Mr. Hall, who is an engineer by profession.

Ten years ago there were 3,500 consumers in the system; today there are 5,500 and technology is helping to manage these customers in Providenciales.  Provo Water Company does not tally per recipient of the service; they count their consumers by how many subscribers are signed onto the service.  Which means, there are far more households and businesses than reflected in 2021cumulative customer figure.

“We are able to produce just under four million gallons of water per day.  Currently we are using about – in this particular time – 1.1 to 1.2 million gallons per day.  So we’ve got built in capacity obviously to accommodate any growth in the short to medium term.”

Reverse osmosis of the salty ocean water is the process used to transform our turquoise gold into nourishing, drinking water; a process which requires its own story.  Suffice it to say, what is produced by source and sister company: Turks and Caicos Water, would be meaningless if there was nowhere to store it.

Right now, there are 2.5 million gallons stored at the plant in Grace Bay.  Another one million gallons is held at the storage tank near FortisTCI, the electricity supplier, off Leeward Highway.

“We are currently the owners of the land on the roundabout near CIBC, and there are some additional storage and pumping facilities that will be built there very shortly; we are hoping to start that this year. So that is a part of the project of trying to get water to and from both ends of the island.

We always have to be ahead of the curve, because the demand will always be there and the capacity to supply that demand has to always be ahead.”

In our series, we explore more advancements in the past ten years; including the biggest splash for Provo Water Company:  the introduction of artificial intelligence and technology.

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