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

November 23, 2022

FB22-069: Caribbean Fishery Bulletin. For more information, contact: Sarah Stephenson, 727-824-5305, sarah.stephenson@noaa.gov

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What is Happening and When:

1)  Seasonal Red Hind Closure

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

  • The closure begins at 12:01 a.m., local time, on December 1, 2022, and extends through 11:59 p.m., local time, February 28, 2023.


2)  Seasonal Fishing Prohibitions in Red Hind Spawning Areas

From December 1 through the last day of February 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

  • 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

  • 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


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

Location of the seasonal fishing restrictions for red hind grouper in U.S. Caribbean federal waters off Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgins Islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas
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, 2022, continues until March 31, 2023.  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 FB22-060 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

Sign Up For Text Message Alerts - Find Out About Immediate Openings and Closures

NOAA's Text Message Alert Program allows you to receive important fishery related alerts via text message (SMS).  Standard message & data rates may apply.  You may opt-out at any time.


Text alerts you may receive include:

  • Immediate fishery openings and closures
  • Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly


Sign up for one or more of the following groups:

  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text CARIBFISH to 888777


Other contacts:

Media:  Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750


Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on November 23, 2022