The Caribbean Branch works with the Caribbean Fishery Management Council (Caribbean Council) to manage fisheries in federal waters of the U.S. Caribbean. The U.S. Caribbean includes the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Commonwealth includes the main island of Puerto Rico and several smaller islands, such as Mona, Culebra, and Vieques. The U.S. Virgin Islands includes the main islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, along with many other surrounding minor islands.
The Caribbean Council develops management measures through fishery management plans (FMPs) for queen conch, spiny lobster, and select species of reef fish and coral reef resources. The Caribbean Branch puts in place the resulting regulations. Caribbean Branch staff provide guidance to the Caribbean Council and the general public on fisheries management; assess environmental impacts of proposed management measures; educate the public on fishery management issues; coordinate public review and comments during regulations development; and issue fishing closures to prevent overfishing.