The reefs look OK, but, "Nobody’s home. I didn’t even seen a barracuda," she said, according to a report in the St. John Source.
Earle was on island on behalf of the Ocean Conservancy’s publication of "The State of the Coral Reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands." When she dove off St. John nearly 35 years ago, Earle said she saw seven species of grouper. "Today, I saw none of those big guys." The staghorn and elkhorn coral are also gone, but she said the brain coral is alright. This time she saw three lobsters; in 1970 she would expect to see 20.
The problems are not only St. John’s, she explained. Around the world, 90 percent of the "big fish" have disappeared. She urged protection for spawning areas and a reduction in the number of fish allowed to be caught. Now that people are paying attention, she said, "Weve got a chance."