V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Commissioner Jean-Pierre L. Oriol reminds commercial fishers who plan to renew their license to turn in their catch reports and schedule their quarterly port samples with the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Pre-registration for license renewals is June 16 on St. Croix and June 17 on St. Thomas.
“We invite our commercial fishers to partner with us in an effort to protect and enhance the territory’s marine habitats,” the commissioner said. “Providing this information is key to taking stock of our natural resources now and ensuring our children can enjoy them tomorrow.”
Catch report forms, which are due every two weeks, help the government collect data on the prevalence of various fish species in local and federal waters and are a tool used to maintain the sustainability of the Virgin Islands fishing industry.
Groupers, snappers, grunts, surgeons, angel, parrots and jacks are some of the popular types of fishes found in the oceans surrounding the Virgin Islands.
Information gathered also includes the type of gear used – dive equipment, nets, hook and line, or traps. Also, the forms prompt fishers to answer questions on the number of pounds of fish caught, the length of time spent fishing, and the mapping out of the areas fished.
Blank forms are available for pick-up at Division of Fish and Wildlife offices in both districts and may be submitted at drop boxes conveniently stationed on all three islands.
Drop boxes are located on St. Thomas at the Division of Fish and Wildlife office and Neptune’s Fishing Supplies in Red Hook; at the Gustav Quetel Fish Market in Frenchtown; at Hull Bay Beach; and the Department of Agriculture. On St. John, commercial catch report drop boxes are located at Connections in Cruz Bay. On St. Croix, they are located at the Division of Fish and Wildlife office at Mars Hill in Frederiksted; the Division of Environmental Enforcement office in Anna’s Hope; and at Budget Marine in Gallows Bay.
Commercial fishers are also encouraged to schedule their four annual port samples with the Division of Fish and Wildlife to maintain compliance. Personnel are available for field visits to assist with weighing, measuring, identifying and recording catch by calling the office at 773-1082.