Reminder of Seasonal Fishing Restrictions in U.S. Caribbean Federal Waters

November 22, 2019

FB19-075: Caribbean Fishery Bulletin; For more information, contact: Sarah Stephenson, 727-824-5305, sarah.stephenson@noaa.gov

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Beginning December 1, 2019, at 12:01 a.m., Local Time

WHAT/WHEN:

1) Seasonal Red Hind Closure

NOAA Fisheries reminds fishers and the public of the annual seasonal closure on fishing for, or possession of, red hind grouper in federal waters of Puerto Rico west of 67° 10’ W longitude (see map).

  • The closure begins at 12:01 a.m., local time, on December 1, 2019, and extends through 11:59 p.m., local time, February 29, 2020.

2) Seasonal Fishing Prohibitions in Red Hind Spawning Areas

From December 1 through February 28 each year, fishing for any species is prohibited in federal waters of the following red hind spawning aggregation areas:

  • The Tourmaline Bank area closure off western Puerto Rico (see map, inset A), bounded by the following coordinates (regulations only apply to the portion of Tourmaline Bank in federal waters):

A       18°11.2’ N      67°22.4’ W

B       18°11.2’ N      67°19.2’ W

C       18°08.2’ N      67°19.2’ W

D       18°08.2’ N      67°22.4’ W

A       18°11.2’ N      67°22.4’ W

  • The Abrir La Sierra Bank area closure off western Puerto Rico, which lies completely within federal waters (see map, inset A), and is bounded by the following coordinates:

A       18°06.5’ N      67°26.9’ W

B       18°06.5’ N      67°23.9’ W

C       18°03.5’ N      67°23.9’ W

D       18°03.5’ N      67°26.9’ W

A       18°06.5’ N      67°26.9’ W

  • The Lang Bank red hind spawning aggregation area, east of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (see map, inset B), bounded by the following coordinates:

A       17°50.2’ N      64°27.9’ W

B       17°50.1’ N      64°26.1’ W

C       17°49.2’ N      64°25.8’ W

D       17°48.6’ N      64°25.8’ W

E       17°48.1’ N      64°26.1’ W

F       17°47.5’ N      64°26.9’ W

A       17°50.2’ N      64°27.9’ W

3) Annual Fishing and Anchoring Prohibitions within Hind Bank

NOAA Fisheries also reminds that fishing for any species and anchoring by fishing vessels within the Hind Bank Marine Conservation District, south of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, is prohibited year round (see map, inset C).  The Hind Bank Marine Conservation District is bounded by the following coordinates:

A   18°13.2’ N      65°06.0’ W

B   18°13.2’ N      64°59.0’ W

C   18°11.8’ N      64°59.0’ W

D   18°10.7’ N      65°06.0’ W

A   18°13.2’ N      65°06.0’ W

Image of red hind closure areas

 

Figure 1.  Map showing the seasonal area closures in the U.S. Caribbean.

 

4) Seasonal Bajo de Sico Area Closure

The seasonal closure in Federal waters of the Bajo de Sico area off western Puerto Rico, which began October 1, 2019, continues until March 31, 2020.  During the closure, fishing for and possession of reef fish managed by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council is prohibited.  Anchoring by fishing vessels is prohibited year-round.  See Fishery Bulletin FB19-055 for more information.

WHY THESE CLOSURES ARE HAPPENING:

These restrictions were developed to provide further protection for red hind spawning aggregations and large snappers and groupers, and to better protect the essential fish habitat where these species reside.


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Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on November 22, 2019