April 8, 2005 — Commissioner Dean C. Plaskett, Esq., of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources announces that at the January 2005 Caribbean Fisheries Management Council (CFMC) meeting in Puerto Rico, representatives of the U.S Virgin Islands commercial fishers successfully negotiated with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries for the replacement of the 30 + square mile proposed area closure with seasonal closures for various species of fish. Specific seasonal closures tentatively agreed to include:
1. Prohibit the possession of red grouper, tiger grouper, yellow-edge grouper, black grouper, and yellow-fin grouper from February 1st through April 30th of each year.
2. Prohibit the possession of black, black-fin, vermillion and silk snapper from October 1st to December 31st of each year.
3. Prohibit the possession of mutton and lane snapper from April 1st to June 30th of each year.
4. Prohibit the possession of Nassau grouper year round until the CFMC has determined that it has recovered.
5. Prohibit the filleting of fish in Federal waters of the U.S. Caribbean. Require that fish captured or possessed in territorial waters be landed with heads and fins intact.
Public meetings on these issues are planned as follows:
St. Thomas Monday, April 18, 2005 at 7 pm at the Frenchtown Community Center.
St. Croix – Tuesday, April 19, 2005 at 7 pm at the Curriculum Center in Kingshill.
St. John – Wednesday, April 27, 2005 at 7 pm at the Legislature Building in Cruz Bay.
These proposed regulations need to be enacted in both territorial and federal waters around the USVI. The STT/STJ Fisheries Advisory Commitee and the St. Thomas Fishermens Association have already endorsed these measures. If the USVI does not show significant and timely progress in implementing these measures, then CFMC and NOAA Fisheries will again consider closing large areas in the Federal waters around the USVI to local fishers.
CFMCs next meeting in scheduled for May 3-4, 2005 on St. Thomas, USVI.
For further information about these meetings, please contact Dr. Barbara Kojis, Director, or Dr. Roger Uwate, Chief of Fisheries, Division of Fish and Wildlife, at 775-6762.
The Source is publishing this press release as a public service. It is published exactly as received. Please note on the by-line the name of the person or organization who sent the release. This was not generated or rewritten by the Source or any of its associates.