Ocean conservation in the BVI

Richard Branson at the Ultramarine gatheirng on Necker
Stacie Hess
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 31 January 2023

We’re very fortunate here in the British Virgin Islands to be surrounded by the most pristine ocean, filled with amazing sea creatures. Spending time swimming, kitesurfing and diving in the ocean is a regular reminder to me that we must do all we can to protect this extraordinary habitat.

We welcome many groups for gatherings on Necker Island, and one regular is ULTRAMARINE, a community of scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, artists, explorers, and athletes. Founded by Susi Mai and Jeremy McKane, with the support of JSpace, the group has a special focus on taking action on ocean conservation.

Richard Branson at the Ultramarine ocean conservation gathering on Necker Island
Stacie Hass

Recently they came together to discuss pressing issues facing the ocean, with the likes of Ralph Chami from the IMF, Premier Wheatley of the BVI, Dr Jim Porter and Candina Weston discussing opportunities and priorities in the effort to meet the target of 30x30 - protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030. The group was joined by another set of changemakers and entrepreneurs who come to the island each year for a conference called the Necker Summit, and they played a pivotal role in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars and forming a new joint venture.

The two groups worked on developments such as technology to measure, report and verify the status of ecosystems, commitments to renewable energy and developing a new documentary on underwater munitions. We also discussed prioritising species protection in the BVI with Premier Wheatley, an issue close to my heart.

Necker Island flamingos
Stacie Hess

We also made sure to have a lot of fun, getting out onto the water for some kitesurfing, and even celebrating a wedding on the beach – congratulations to the happy couple.

Necker Island Wedding with Richard Branson in the background
Stacie Hess

Virgin Limited Edition is working with Unite BVI on many ocean-related environmental commitments. These range from encouraging coral reef growth to protecting crucial ocean eco-systems, wearing uniforms made from reclaimed ocean waste and recycled plastic bottles to reef-friendly sunscreen and responsible eating.

Necker Island beach
Stacie Hess

Head over to ULTRAMARINE to find out more about their work and Virgin Limited Edition to learn more about Necker gatherings.