“The damage is moderate, and it could have been a whole lot worse.”
Local VINP fisheries biologist Jeff Miller reported that while damage from hurricane Irma in September, 2017 was significant, recovery is happening. Biologists surveyed areas around St. John, including Hawksnest, Lameshur, Waterlemon Cay, and Yawzi Point.
Fish need healthy coral to survive, so when their food source is diminished, they will unfortunately go elsewhere. The good news, despite the immediate decline, snorkelers have reported seeing an increase in common reef fish around St. John, including parrot fish, sergeant majors, damsel fish, snappers, angelfish, and puffers, among others. And thankfully, the waters around St. John are protected, so the island is on the best track for recovery after the storm.
For more on the importance of coral reefs, checkout this informative blog post.