Goals and Objectives

Logo for the Virgin Islands Marine Advisoy Service


The Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, which serves as the extension arm of the University of Puerto Rico’s Sea Grant College Program, works with various local and federal partners within the Virgin Island’s community to: 1) Increase awareness of our natural resources; and 2) Provide sound ecological/ecosystem data to decision makers, coastal managers and the public. These goals are met through the use of collaborative research, outreach, and outreach tools. 

Student assessing the health of coral fragments
UVI's Center for Marine and Environmental Studies (CMES) serves as the research arm; focusing on topics such as coral health, mangroves, fish spawning aggregations, and oceanography. Click HERE to learn more about the research efforts conducted within UVI CMES.
Students learning about marine invertebrates
VIMAS operates as the outreach/education arm for UVI CMES. We engage the community through public events, transforming public spaces, and coordinating volunteers to assist with citizen science efforts. Click HERE to learn more about the outreach efforts conducted within VIMAS.
VIMAS extension agents delivering a presentation at a school
VIMAS operates as the outreach/education arm for UVI CMES. We coordinate with educators to host field trip experiences, classroom presentations, and educator workshops. Click HERE to learn more about the education efforts conducted within VIMAS.



See below how our work aligns with the national priorities established by Sea Grant. 



Sea Grant is a leader in developing innovative technologies for all sectors of the seafood industry, including fishing, aquaculture, seafood processing and consumer safety. VIMAS works closely with local restaurants and fishermen to ensure that sustainable seafood practices are utilized within the Virgin Islands. 

The United States manages millions of square miles of coastal ecosystems that support a variety of recreational, commercial and subsistence activities. In the Virgin Islands, our coastal habitats provide numerous ecosystem services and benefits. VIMAS agents work within communities, local businesses and other stakeholders to ensure that these habitats remain functional for our economy.  Below are some of  our current programs/efforts that address this focus area:

  • Coastweeks - Our team coordinates the annual International Coastal Cleanup efforts within the USVI; through these beach cleanup efforts, coastal debris is not only removed but also recorded. This data can help to support environmental-based legislation aimed at reducing the harmful effects of marine debris.
  • Mangrove Restoration Project - With a permit issued from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, our team collects and rears red mangrove seedlings. These saplings are then planted in areas that once had mangroves but may have lost them either due to human or natural disturbances.

Sea Grant works to create a diverse workforce trained in marine science, technology, engineering, mathematics, law and policy. VIMAS agents employ research and outreach tools to engage and educate our youth about environmental issues within the Virgin Islands. Much of this hands-on training helps to motivate and inspire the next generation of scientists. Below are some of  our current programs/efforts that address this focus area:

  • Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program - This 2 week ocean-based summer program targets youth in grades 3-6 and focuses on teaching the fundamentals of the Red Cross Learn to Swim Program while infusing STEAM and marine science concepts into our daily lessons. 

  • Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program - This 4 week ocean-based summer program targets youth in grades 7-12 and builds upon what participants learned in the Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program. Here, they connect with diverse STEAM professionals, can get scuba certified, and can gain insight to what a career in the marine sciences actually looks like.

  • Environmental Learning Outside the Classroom - VIMAS extension agents host fieldtrip experiences for both educators and students that employ the use of best practices in informal STEAM education and youth engagement.
  • Water Heroes - Funded through the Water Resources Research Institute at UVI, VIMAS extension agents and community partners host a combination of classroom presentations, hands-on demonstrations and experiments, and fieldtrip experiences to educate students about water conservation, water quality testing, and the process of water filtration.

Sea Grant researchers and outreach specialists support cutting-edge research in the areas of coastal processes, hazards, energy sources, climate change, storm water management and tourism. Coastal communities such as those within the Virgin Islands which are prone to the impacts of hurricanes can utilize resources provided by VIMAS to better prepare and adapt to a changing climate.  Below are some of  our current programs/efforts that address this focus area:

  • USVI Glass Recovery Program - This program recycles glass beverage bottles by pulverizing them back into sand which is then used to fill sandbags. These sandbags are distributed throughout the community prior to and during hurricane season as a means to mitigate flood damage.



Our team is happy to assist you.
Phone  Email Social Media 
340-693-1672 howard.forbes@uvi.edu