April 19, 2004 – The Fish and Wildlife Division of the Planning and Natural Resources Department wants to hear what local fishermen think about plans to amend the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council's Sustainable Fisheries Act.
Fish and Wildlife has invited Robert Trumble, a scientist with the Florida consulting firm Marine Resources Assessment Group Americas, to lead discussions this week and again a month from now on ways to reduce overfishing in federal waters around the Virgin Islands. Federal waters extend from three to 200 miles offshore.
On St. Croix, meetings will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday and May 20 at Gertrude's Restaurant in Castle Coakley.
On St. Thomas, meetings will be at 9 a.m. Friday and May 21 at the V.I. Gamefishing Club offices in Red Hook.
William Tobias, a fisheries biologist with Fish and Wildlife, said there are several possible scenarios to allow depleted fishing stocks to rebuild. "It could be a different item in each area," he said.
Severe measures, he said, could include banning fish traps. Less-extreme steps could include seasonal or rotating closures, limited entry to the areas of concern, or restrictions on the use of fishing gear.
Tobias urged fishermen to attend the meetings. "Without input, it's possible that someone else without knowledge of the area will make the decisions," he said.
For more information, call Tobias on St. Croix at 713-2415 or Jason Vasquez with the division on St. Thomas at 775-6762.
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