Skip to main content
Unsupported Browser Detected

Internet Explorer lacks support for the features of this website. For the best experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.

Seasonal and Area Fishing Closures - U.S. Caribbean

Fishing years, seasonal closures, and area closures for federally managed Caribbean species.
NOTE: All official regulations for fishing in U.S. Caribbean federal waters are found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 622.

NOAA’s Sustainable Fisheries Division Caribbean Branch, together with the Caribbean Fishery Management Council, manages fisheries in federal waters of the U.S. Caribbean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Federal waters begin where Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Island jurisdictional waters end and extend 200 miles into the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. 

This summary is intended to provide appropriate information to fishers about regulations and the sustainable use of marine fishery resources in the U.S. Caribbean. This summary is for general information purposes. Fishery Regulations are subject to changes. For more information on fishery regulations consult the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 50 CFR 622.

 

Seasonal closures applicable to specific species 

Species

Seasonal Closure

Nassau grouper HARVEST PROHIBITED
Goliath grouper HARVEST PROHIBITED
Midnight parrotfish HARVEST PROHIBITED
Blue parrotfish HARVEST PROHIBITED
Rainbow parrotfish HARVEST PROHIBITED
Red grouper February 1 - April 30
Black grouper February 1 - April 30
Tiger grouper February 1 - April 30
Yellowfin grouper February 1 - April 30
Yellowedge grouper February 1 - April 30
Red hind grouper December 1 - Last Day of February
Mutton snapper April 1 - June 30
Lane snapper April 1 - June 30
Black snapper October 1 - December 31
Blackfin snapper October 1 - December 31
Vermilion snapper October 1 - December 31
Silk snapper October 1 - December 31
Queen conch(a) June 1 - October 31
(a) Fishing for or possession of queen conch in the U.S. Caribbean EEZ is prohibited, with the exception of Lang Bank, St. Croix, USVI (east of 64°34’W) during the open season (November 1 - May 31).

 

Seasonal closures and year-round prohibitions applicable to specific areas

Area(b) Island Seasonal Closure Year-round Prohibition
Hind Bank Marine Conservation District  St. Thomas Year-round Fishing for any species and anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round.
Grammanik Bank (c) St. Thomas February 1 - April 30 Fishing with pots, traps, bottom longlines, gillnets or trammel nets is prohibited year-round.
Mutton snapper spawning aggregation area St. Croix March 1 - June 30 Fishing with pots, traps, bottom longlines, gillnets or trammel nets is prohibited year-round.
Lang Bank  St. Croix December 1 - February 28 Fishing with pots, traps, bottom longlines, gillnets or trammel nets is prohibited year-round.
Tourmaline Bank Puerto Rico December 1 - February 28 Fishing with pots, traps, bottom longlines, gillnets or trammel nets is prohibited year-round.
Abrir La Sierra Puerto Rico December 1 - February 28 Fishing with pots, traps, bottom longlines, gillnets or trammel nets is prohibited year-round.
Bajo de Sico (d) Puerto Rico October 1 - March 31 Fishing with pots, traps, bottom longlines, gillnets or trammel nets is prohibited year-round. Anchoring by fishing vessels is prohibited year-round.
(b) For coordinates of each closed area, please see the Caribbean Closed Areas Coordinates.
(c) During the seasonal closure, no person may fish for or possess any species of fish, except highly migratory species, in or from Grammanik Bank. “Fish” means finfish, mollusks, crustaceans, and all other forms of marine animal and plant life other than marine mammals and birds. “Highly migratory species” means bluefin, bigeye, yellowfin, albacore, and skipjack tunas; swordfish; sharks; and white marlin, blue marlin, sailfish, and longbill spearfish.
(d) During the seasonal closure, no person may fish for or possess any Caribbean reef fish, as listed in Table 2 of Appendix A to part 622, in or from those parts of Bajo de Sico that are in federal waters.

 

Please Note:  This summary is intended to provide appropriate information to fishers about regulations and the sustainable use of marine fishery resources in the U.S. Caribbean. This summary is for general information purposes. Fishery Regulations are subject to changes. For more information on fishery regulations consult the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 50 CFR 622 or the NOAA Fisheries Service Southeast Regional Office Fishery Regulation website. Any discrepancies between this information and the regulations as published in the Federal Register will be resolved in favor of the Federal Register.

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on March 11, 2021