The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) said it has received complaints of people anchoring near or venturing onto Maria Islands without first seeking the approval of the Trust.
In a statement issued by the SLNT today (June 25), it said the unauthorised access to Maria Islands threatens the country’s unique biodiversity.
“These unsanctioned visits pose a threat as the Trust cannot guarantee that the proper bio-safety protocols are being observed,” the statement said.
Further, the SLNT said if anyone is found on the islets under these circumstances, this would be deemed an illegal act and thus liable to consequences under the law. The SLNT is therefore seeking the public’s assistance and cooperation in ensuring that the Maria Islands Nature Reserve remain a national treasure that all citizens could enjoy and be proud of.
“These islands have been vested in the Trust to protect their rich biodiversity and to oversee a regime that facilitates managed access to this wildlife reserve. This means that visits to the islands are coordinated by the Trust. Due to strict bio-security controls which are in effect, anyone wishing to visit should first contact the trust to be screened to ensure that no alien species are accidentally introduced onto the islets,” the release added.
The SLNT said it is appreciative of the public interest in the area, and under the appropriate conditions, can facilitate visits to the islands, which are essential in maintaining this country’s unique biodiversity.
Persons who may wish to visit the islands can contact the SLNT on 758-452-5005.