La Réserve naturelle de Saint-Martin est une aire marine protégée de 30km2 située au nord-est de l’île de Saint-Martin. Créé en 1998, cet espace préserve les cinq principaux écosystèmes de l’île : récifs coralliens, mangroves, herbiers de phanérogames, étangs et forêt sèche littorale. La Réserve gère également les 14 étangs du Conservatoire du littoral et ses 11 km de rivages terrestres naturels.

Police Activity

Police Activity

Police Activity

The technical division and nature police for the Réserve Naturelle carried out 259 patrols during the first nine months of 2018: 192 patrols on land and 67 at sea. Of these 259 patrols, 46 of them—or 29 on land and 17 at sea—resulted in warnings and eventually the seizing of material. These infractions include debris deposited in the Réserve, drones flying without authorization, stealing sand from Galion, boats mooring in places where it is forbidden to drop an anchor, use of jet skis, kite surfing outside of the zone authorized at Galion, and 11 fishing incidents in the Réserve: trap fishing at Galion, crab fishing in the salt ponds, fishing with a kayak on the Salines d’Orient, fishing with rods at Galion. At the same time, a quad user was informed that his motorized vehicle is not authorized on the roads within the Réserve and never on the beach.

La tortue blessée - The wounded turtle
La tortue blessée - The wounded turtle

Points de suture sur le cou - Stitches on the neckOn Sunday, March 12, a local resident informed the Réserve that a loggerhead turtle was in trouble on the beach of Grandes Cayes, having been injured by an arrow from a harpoon gun. The Réserve took the animal to the Hope Estate veterinary clinic, where the arrow was removed from the turtle, and the wound was stitched up. The reptile was put back into the water a little later. Knowing the hunter, the Réserve wrote an official report, which was followed by a hearing for the guilty party at the gendarmerie. The poacher admitted his guilt and said that during a picnic on the beach, one of his friends did not eat meet, so he tried to catch a fish instead. And as it happened, the unlucky turtle was just swimming by at the wrong moment, and ended up with an arrow in his neck that was meant for the fish ! The hunter was found guilty of illegal fishing in a natural reserve and required to pay a fine of 150 Euros and another 500 Euros in damages and interest to the Réserve, as part of a civil action proceeding. The sentence could have been worse for the capture and mutilation of a sea turtle: a fine up to 150,000 Euros and two years in prison.

Les poissons saisis - The fish seized
Les poissons saisis - The fish seized

Seized

100-meter Fishnet at Galion

Fishing is forbidden in the Réserve, but that did not stop a poacher from French Quarter to regularly put a 100-meter-long fishnet in Galion Bay. Trying to be accommodating, the guards has asked him four different times to stop his illegal actions, but he persisted. On March 3, 2017, after threatening the guards that he would find out who they were and come after them, he was the subject of an official complaint that the Réserve Naturelle transmitted to the nautical police.

300-meter Fishnet Seized

On May 13, 2017 at around 5pm, an eyewitness called the Réserve to report that an individual was in the process of placing a fishnet at the outlet of the bay in Cul-de-Sac, right in the middle of the nature reserve. The guards verified the activity from the shore and decided to act before nightfall to limit the number of fish caught in the net. They confirmed that they removed and seized the 300-meter net, but several fish were already caught and dead.

Double Trouble For Two Fishermen

First, on February 18 in Grandes Cayes, then two weeks later at Rocher Créole, guards from the Réserve seized harpoons from two fishermen, as well as at least 30 fish each time. The fishermen were informed that fishing is strictly forbidden in the waters of the Réserve and they were warned that they would be fined if the incident were repeated

Photo IOTV
Photo IOTV

In late April 2017, a group of cruise ship passengers who rented quads in Philipsburg didn’t have anything better to do than cross the shallow channel that links the whale observatory site on the Route de Coralita, with the little island about 200 meters away. Immediately informed by eyewitnesses who were shocked by this violation on a protected site, the Réserve questioned the person who had rented them the quads, who had been informed and was aware of the rules and regulations. He admitted that another party had been involved in the rental and had not transmitted the rules that must be respected within the Réserve Naturelle. The Réserve identified the rental company and filed a report against them. The manager of the company has since posted the regulations at his rental agency.

Les lambis saisis par l’ONCFS | The conchs seized by ONCFS © Christophe Joe
The conchs seized by ONCFS © Christophe Joe

The Réserve Naturelle lent a helping hand to the environmental police from The National Office For Hunting and Wildlife to help recover a ton of frozen conch on January 27 at three different importers.

The importation of this species, protected since 1973 by the Washington Convention, is strictly controlled. The importer must be able to provide an invoice if the provenance of the conch is the European Union or benefit from a special importation authorization if the country is non-European. As the three importers implicated here had not made a request for such authorization, their merchandise was seized and dumped into the sea from the boat belonging to the Réserve Naturelle. They will also face paying a stiff fine.

La parcelle nettoyée après avoir été squattée | The squatted land has been cleaned © Christophe Joe
The squatted land has been cleaned © Christophe Joe

There was a gardener, who also sold seashells, who set up shop without any permission along the edge of the Salines d’Orient, and was reported on June 17, 2015 for illegal occupation of land within the Réserve Naturelle, unauthorized destruction of classified land in a nature preserve, unauthorized agricultural and foresting activities in a nature preserve, and lastly unauthorized commercial and artisanal activities, once again in a nature preserve. After being identified thanks to security cameras during a robbery in Waikiki, this individual was taken to the gendarmerie, where he admitted he only had a temporary tourist visa and had resided illegally on the island for many years. Originally from Saint Lucia, he was sent back to his own island. The crew from the Réserve Naturelle cleaned up the land where he ran his business and had built the cabin where he lived. Two full dumpsters were evacuated to the Grandes Cayes eco-site.

Le portail a été saisi The gate that was confiscated
Le portail a été saisi The gate that was confiscated

Since January 1, 2016, the agents at the Réserve Naturelle have undertaken 130 controls at sea and 147 on land, which means the latter 147 were on land belonging to the Conservatoire du Littoral. These patrols resulted in 17 fines, including two for illegal fishing, five fiscal stamps, and five in which equipment was confiscated (harpoon gun, wooden gate, crab pots, fish traps, and a net). Two inter-service missions - with the ONCFS and the Gendarmerie - conducted two fishing controls for fishing in Saint Martin. Three notices were sent by certified mail and 23 verbal warnings were issued.

Bayside s’oppose à la réglementation

Après avoir dressé un premier procès-verbal en avril 2016 pour pratique d’une activité commerciale non autorisée sur un espace classé en réserve naturelle, les gardes ont dressé un second procès-verbal en septembre à l’encontre de l’un des deux exploitants de «Bayside riding club», pour avoir modifié l’état et l’aspect de la Réserve et effectué des travaux. L’un des associés s’était engagé en juin à respecter la réglementation et un procès-verbal de concertation avait été dressé après que le cadenas bloquant l’accès à la parcelle ait été sectionné. Pourtant, quelques jours plus tard, un portail était installé et équipé d’une chaîne et d’un cadenas. Le cadenas a été coupé et le portail saisi, par la Réserve naturelle. La Réserve et la gendarmerie suivent ce dossier

«Dogman» après le nettoyage | «Dogman» after the cleaning
«Dogman» après le nettoyage | «Dogman» after the cleaning

Since January 1, 2016, the agents of the Réserve Naturelle have effectuated 76 patrols at sea and 166 on land, 86 of which were on property belonging to the Conservatoire du Littoral. These patrols led to 13 criminal proceedings, eight of which will be taken to court.

Going to the dogs

«Dogman,» illegally occupying part of lot AW 39, at Galion,

Ran a dog-training business incompatible with the regulations of the Réserve, and decided to leave the site after being fined. The public prosecutor considers the case closed. The occupant destroyed the small structure he had built, and the Réserve Naturelle, and its agents, cleaned the site at its own cost. They will install a fence in order to allow the vegetation to grow back.

No fishing in the Réserve

On March 24, 2016, a fisherman who came out of the water with his harpoon gun onto the beach of Grandes Cayes was quickly reminded of the law. And was told that he will be fined in the case of a

Camping at Easter, yes, but...

Si la Réserve naturelle autorise les campeurs à venir planter leurs tentes le long des plages pendant les fêtes pascales,

If the Réserve Naturelle authorizes campers to pitch their tents along the beaches during Easter vacation, it is expected that people will respect the environment, as well as local laws, but that is not always the case. As happened on March 29, 2016, on the beach of Grandes Cayes, when agents of the Réserve reported a group of campers who had moved the rocks that prohibit the passage of vehicles, cleared away the vegetation at their campsite, and built a fire.

No sea scooters, no Seadoo

A company from Saint Barth that organizes day excursions to Pinel was prohibited from the Réserve Naturelle for one month.

On June 12, 2016, in spite of several warnings, this company continued to use small Seadoo scooters, which are not allowed within the boundaries of the Réserve Naturelle, as is also the case within the waters of the Réserve Marine of Saint Barthélemy. Illegal usage of such motorized vehicles designed for underwater use is subject to a fine of 68 euros.

Better to follow the rules

On June 21, 2016, the «Ranch du Galion» was in trouble for illegal activities.

This business, which occupies land being part of the Réserve Naturelle without authorization, had cleared the land to build an enclosure for their horses, and organized paid horseback riding excursions without having the proper diploma to do so, and without requesting official permission. This type of activity is compatible with the objectives of the Réserve Naturelle and can be authorized, on the condition that the owner follows all rules set by governmental agencies, and meets with the Réserve to work out the practical considerations before starting such a business.
Le

Galion shelter finds itself in court

The case concerning the Galion animal shelter came before the court on June 27.

The trouble started in September 2014, when the lead agent of the Réserve informed the president of the association, Pawsitive, that the shelter she was running is located on land classified as a nature reserve. The shelter, which at that time housed seven adult dogs and four puppies, was asked to move from the premises. In October of the same year, the Réserve sent a formal notice prohibiting the shelter from doing work on the site, and in November, a second notice was sent, this time requesting that work in progress be stopped, and by that time there was a total of 24 dogs. On December 15, 2014, the veterinary service attempted a control, but since the president of Pawsitive was opposed, she was informed there would be legal consequences. Called before the judge to clarify the situation, the director of the Réserve Naturelle attested that the land in question was classified as a nature reserve, and that the role of the Réserve in this case was to have the law respected. «Ms. Morel’s activity is commendable and legitimate, but she is opposed to the regulations. The management of stray dogs is the responsibility of the Collectivité, not the Réserve Naturelle.» The public prosecutor referred to the decree that created the Réserve Naturelle, issued by the Prime Minister at the time, which clearly specified that lot AW39 is part of the Réserve Naturelle. «The violation is clear and the considerations are unrealistic. When Mme Morel set up the shelter, she was told to stop, and in spite of official notices, she continued in violation of the law.» A dialogue with the veterinary service was ignored, and once again the shelter was warned: «it cannot continue in Galion on land classified as Réserve Naturelle.» The prosecutor has requested a fine of 750€, and that the site be returned to its original condition within a period of six months. The president of Paw Sitive was sentenced to two months in prison with a suspended sentence, a 500 euro fine, and required to demolish the refuge within the next six months.

On ne pêche pas dans la Réserve..No fishing in the ReserveGrandes CayesLe refuge du GalionThe Galion shelter

 

Kite surfing forbidden at Galion!
Kite surfing forbidden at Galion!

Kite surfing is forbidden at Galion by prefectural decree, but certain practitioners seem to be deaf when it comes to the rules.

Two violations were given to two kite surfers who resisted the control of the rangers and refused to provide their identify. They must appear before the correctional court and risk fines up to 1500 euros. In addition, five kite surfers were also fined and have to pay 135 euros each

78 patrouilles en 3 mois

Depuis le 1er janvier 2016, l’équipe des gardes de la Réserve naturelle a procédé à 78 patrouilles et a enregistré 17 contrôles non conformes. Les patrouilles peuvent avoir lieu le weekend, mais pas systématiquement, le calendrier des patrouilles étant décidé en fonction de l’ensemble des activités des gardes.

Le Rocher Créole Creole Rock © Christophe Joe
Le Rocher Créole Creole Rock © Christophe Joe

Feeding fish in the Réserve Naturelle is forbidden.

A sea excursion operator learned the hard way when the rangers surprised him in the act of feeding the fish with his clients, while moored at Creole Rock. He was forbidden from the Réserve Naturelle for two weeks during the Christmas holiday period. Feeding the fish is forbidden for numerous reasons, such as: certain fish can become aggressive and dangerous species can be attracted, this artificial addition of organic material can have a negative impact on the environment, the food can pollute the water, the aliments are not always adapted to fish in the sea and can have negative consequences on their health…

A company based in Saint Barth and a partner of the Réserve Naturelle was excluded from the Reserve for two weeks

for having used a Sea-Doo - a small sea scooter whose usage is forbidden in the Réserve - at Tintamare. This company had been warned on several occasions, but apparently did not heed the warning.

Contrôle d’un pêcheur en mer | Control of a fisherman at sea
Contrôle d’un pêcheur en mer | Control of a fisherman at sea

From January 16-19, the team of wardens of the Réserve Naturelle participated in an interservices mission at sea,

alongside the nautical brigade of the gendarmerie, the Direction de la Mer, and the Office national de la chasse et de la faune sauvage (ONCFS). The rangers of the Réserve and a team from ONCFS did several fishing controls, aboard the boat belonging to the Réserve. These controls were held inside and outside of the waters of the Réserve and resulted in the confiscation of fish too small to have been taken and conch, as per regulations. Conch was also seized at the fish market

10 kilos of sea snails put back in the sea

Rangers of the Reserve caught five fishermen in the act,

and put 10 kilos of sea snails found in a bucket back in the sea close to Wilderness Beach. They were given a ticket for illegal fishing in the Reserve Naturelle under the rural law of maritime procedures, as well as for the offense.

A gardener, who also sells seashells, decided to set up shop and do business alongside the Etang aux Poissons and was reported by the wardens of the Réserve on July 17, 2015. This individual had cleared along the edge of the pond in order to plant palm trees and coconut trees, and was selling conch - a protected species whose fishing is regulated - to tourists who stopped in front of his open-air stall. He was ticketed for illegal occupation of land belonging to the Réserve Naturelle, non-authorized destruction of a protected species, carrying out foresting and agriculture - as well as commercial and artisanal activities - in a nature reserve. On July 30, the wardens of the Réserve removed his plantings. The legal case is following its course

On June 27, 2015, the animal refuge for the association, Pawsitive,
located in the Réserve Naturelle along the Route du Galion, was once again cited for having cleared trees on a protected site within the Réserve Naturelle without authorization. In addition, they also put up an enclosure: work done without any authorization

A month later, on July 27, Julien Chalifour and his crew were on a scientific mission at sea when they came across two swimmers equipped with flippers and masks near Caye Verte, in the waters of the Réserve Naturelle. Intrigued by the attitude of these two men, Julien asked them a few questions before bringing them aboard the boat and taking them back to the beach in Orient Bay. The crew returned to the same spot and upon diving found harpoon guns and conch that were sadly already dead. The guns were confiscated and the conch thrown back into the open seas.

On September 23, fisherman was caught in the channel near Pinel in possession of eight living conch, which were quickly returned to the water.

Pêche interdite à Caye Verte | No fishing at Green Cay
Pêche interdite à Caye Verte | No fishing at Green Cay

Caught by the Réserve Naturelle in the act of fishing in front of Green Cay in March 2015, a poacher that had been identified several times by witnesses spontaneously volunteered to do non-paid work on behalf of the Réserve. This proposition was noted in the report filed by Franck Roncuzzi, director of the police division for nature and logistics. At the end of his questioning at the gendarmerie, and in keeping with the judgment, this individual will undertake 20 hours of cleaning the beaches within the Réserve Naturelle.

Pêche interdite à Pinel | No fishing at Pinel
Pêche interdite à Pinel | No fishing at Pinel

In April 2015, alerted by a witness that two men equipped with harpoon guns were seen off the coast of Pinel, Franck Roncuzzi immediately set out by boat to the spot. There, he discovered three lobsters with holes from arrows but not the gun… and the two poachers denied any wrongdoing. Did the lobsters jump by themselves into the inflatable boat and impale themselves on a harpoon? Aggravating circumstances : one of the two had already been condemned to 20 hours of unpaid work for the Réserve, for having dumped trash on the beach of Grandes Cayes. The fishing gear belonging to these two individuals was seized, and they showed remorse during their questioning at the gendarmerie. At the end of the day they were given a reminder by the judge to respect the interdiction of fishing in Réserve, at the risk of being considered as repeat offenders.

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