• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Executive summary
 Introduction
 Main
 Conclusion
 Acknowledgement
 Reference
 Appendix






Title: Census of the marine commercial fishers of the U.S. Virgin Islands
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Title: Census of the marine commercial fishers of the U.S. Virgin Islands
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Kojis, Barbara
Publisher: Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Place of Publication: St. Thomas, USVI
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Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Table of Contents
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Executive summary
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Introduction
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Main
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
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        Page 15
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        Page 19
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        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
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        Page 41
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        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
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        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    Conclusion
        Page 67
    Acknowledgement
        Page 68
    Reference
        Page 69
        Page 70
    Appendix
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
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Full Text






Census of the Marine Commercial Fishers of the
U. S. Virgin Islands


July 2004
Revised August 2004

Submitted to:
Caribbean Fishery Management Council
268 MuZoz Rivera Ave., Suite 1108
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00918-1920


Barbara Kojis, Ph.D.
Department of Planning and Natural
Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
6291 Estate Nazareth
St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1118


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US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. Fisher response rate US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census 2003.
Table 2. Ethnic composition of commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 3. Age of commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 4. Education level of commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 5. Responses of commercial fishers to the question of whether they were full time
fishers, part time fishers, opportunistic fishers, or charter fishers.
Table 6. Number and percentage of commercial fishers belonging to a fishing organization in
the US Virgin Islands.
Table 7. Number and percentage of commercial fishers targeting various categories of fish,
mollusks, and crustaceans in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 8. Number and percentage of commercial fishers harvesting one or more than one
categories of fish in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Table 9. Mean, standard deviation (SD), and range of years commercial fishers stated that they
fished in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 10. Number of years that commercial fishers stated that they fished in the US Virgin
Islands.
Table 11. Number of years commercial fishers expected to continue to fish in the US Virgin
Islands.
Table 12. Number and percentage of boats owned by commercial fishers in the US Virgin
Islands.
Table 13. Total numbers of boats that commercial fishers stated were registered and the mean
number of boats owned by commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 14. Age of boats used by commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 15. Mean length of boats (feet) used by US Virgin Islands commercial fishers.
Table 16. Number and percentage of boats in different length classes used by US Virgin Islands
commercial fishers.
Table 17. Number and percentage of commercial fishing boats with inboard, outboard, or
inboard/outboard engines in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 18. Number and percentage of outboard engines used per fishing boat in the US Virgin
Islands.
Table 19. Number and percentage of outboard engines in different size classes used by
commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 20. Number and percentage of inboard engines in different length classes used by
commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 21. Number and percentage of type of fuel used in engines in commercial fishing boats in
the US Virgin Islands.
Table 22. Number and percentage of commercial fishers owning boats in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 23. Number and percentage of commercial fishing boats constructed of various types of
material in the USVI.
Table 24. Number of various types of electronic equipment used on commercial fishing boats
and the percentage of boats using each type of equipment.
Table 25. Number of various types of fishing equipment used on commercial fishing boats in
the USVI and the percentage of boats using each type of equipment.
Table 26. Summary of beach seine information from respondents.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 27. Summary of ballyhoo net information from respondents.
Table 28. Summary of haul seine information from respondents.
Table 29. Summary of gill net information from respondents.
Table 30. Summary of trammel net information from respondents.
Table 31. Summary of cast net information from respondents.
Table 32. Summary of umbrella net information from respondents.
Table 33. Summary of plastic lobster pot information from respondents.
Table 34. Summary of modified fish trap (pot) and deepwater shrimp pot information from
respondents.
Table 35. Summary of fish trap (pot) information from respondents
Table 36. Summary of surface longline information from respondents
Table 37. Summary of bottom longline information from respondents
Table 38. Summary of vertical setline multi-hook information from respondents
Table 39. Summary of vertical setline single hook information from respondents.
Table 40. Summary of trolling gear information from respondents.
Table 41. Summary of anchor fishing gear information from respondents.
Table 42. Summary of drift fishing gear information from respondents.
Table 43. Summary of skin diving gear information from respondents.
Table 44. Summary of scuba diving gear information from respondents.
Table 45. The average number of fishing trips by fishers per week and the average duration of
fishing trips in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 46. Number of fishers fishing alone, with helpers, or with other commercial fishers.
Table 47. The number of crew used by commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
Table 48. The hours per week commercial fishers spent on fishing related activities (not
including catching fish).
Table 49. Names of landing sites used by St. John commercial fishers and the percentage of
fishers responding who used each of the landing sites.
Table 50. Names of landing sites used by St. Thomas commercial fishers and the percentage of
fishers responding who used each of the landing sites.
Table 51. Names of landing sites used by St. Croix commercial fishers and the percentage of
fishers responding who used each landing site.
Table 52. The number of landing sites used by individual St. Croix commercial fishers.
Table 53. Sites specified by St. Croix District commercial fishers when describing other sales


Table 54. US Virgin Islands fishers' opinions on whether fishing
than 10 years ago.


; is better, the same or worse


Table 55. Reasons fishers gave for fishing being worse in St. Thomas/St. John District.
Table 56. Reasons fishers gave for fishing being worse in St. Croix District.
Table 57. Percentage of US Virgin Islands Commercial fisher income derived from fishing.
Table 58. Comparison of the number of commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands between
1930 and 2004.
Table 59. The number of hours fishers spent each week conducting all fishing related activity(
Table 60. Number of boats and percentage of boat ownership in the fishery based on the
number of boats divided by the number of fishers.
Table 61. Percentage of boats with engines in the US Virgin Islands in1930, 1968, 2003.
Table 62. Numbers of gear used by fisher in the US Virgin Islands in 1930, 1968, and 2003.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 63. Comparison of number of traps (pots) reported by fishers in 2002-03 fishing year
catch reports and the number reported in this study. (PLP = Plastic lobster pots, MFP
= Modified lobster pots).


LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Map showing the location of the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
Figure 2. Map of the US Virgin Islands.
Figure 3. Age distribution of commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands in 2003.
Figure 4. Number of years commercial fishers have fished in the US Virgin Islands.
Figure 5. Number of trips per week for STT/STJ District commercial fishers.
Figure 6. Cumulative distribution of the hours per fishing trip for the US Virgin Islands.
Figure 7. Percentage of fishers marketing their fish in various was for St. Thomas/St. John
District, US Virgin Islands.
Figure 8. Percentage of fishers marketing their fish in various ways in St. Croix District, US
Virgin Islands.
Figure 9. St. Thomas/St. John District fisher responses comparing fishing today with 10 years
ago.
Figure 10. St. Croix District fisher responses comparing fishing today with 10 years ago.
Figure 11. Percentage of income from commercial fishing in St. Thomas/St. John District.
Figure 12. Percentage of income from commercial fishing in St. Croix District.
Figure 13. Map of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands (CFMC 2003)
showing the extent of the insular shelves (<200m depth) (the shelf is colored yellow
and red) of the United States portion of the Puerto Rico Bank which includes St.
Thomas and St. John (northern US Virgin Islands) and St. Croix.










EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A census of the commercial fishers of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) was conducted from July
2003 to January 2004. A total of 323 commercial fishermen were interviewed, 116 in St.
Thomas/St. John District and 217 in St. Croix District. Over 70% of licensed commercial fishers
in St. Thomas/St. John District and all the licensed commercial fishers in St. Croix District were
interviewed. The census describes the current socioeconomic and demographic characteristics
of commercial fishers in the USVI and provides information on their fishing equipment (boats
and fishing gear) and fishing related activities.

Commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands were on average 50.5 years old, had fished almost
23 years and planned to continue to fish for the rest of their lives. Over half the commercial
fishers in the USVI had not completed high school. The level of education of commercial fishers
in St. Croix District was significantly lower than in St. Thomas/St. John District. More than half
of the licensed commercial fishers in St. Croix District had only completed elementary or junior
high school. The largest percentage of commercial fishers in the USVI was black. On St.
Thomas/St. John the majority of fishers were of French descent while on St. Croix the largest
percentage of fishers was Hispanic. Two-thirds of fishers in the USVI identified themselves as
full-time fishers and one third identified themselves as part-time or opportunistic fishers. USVI
commercial fishers reported earning an average of 64.5% of their income from fishing.
Individual fishers earned 0 to 100% of their income from fishing depending on whether they
fished primarily for personal consumption or their only income was from fishing.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Fishers in St. John generally landed their fish in one of 5 locations, most commonly Cruz Bay or
Coral Bay. Fishers on St. Thomas landed their fish at one of 19 different locations on the island,
most commonly Frenchtown, Hull Bay, and Benner Bay. St. Thomas fishers usually landed their
fish at only one site. Fishers on St. Croix landed their fish at 18 different sites on St. Croix and
one fisher landed his fish on St. John. The most commonly used landing sites on St. Croix were
Altona Lagoon, Molasses Pier and Frederiksted Fisherman's Pier. One-third of St. Croix fishers
landed their fish at more than one site.

Fish were primarily marketed whole, gutted, scaled, and or iced. They were commonly sold at
the fisher's landing site but also sold along the road, at fish markets, to restaurants, and to retail
stores.

Over half the fishers in St. Thomas/St. John District felt that fishing was the same as ten years
ago. The one third who felt it was worse gave less fish, area closures and too many traps as the
primary reasons for the decline. In contrast, almost 70% of St. Croix fishers thought fishing was
worse today than ten years ago. Nearly 40% of fishers felt the decline was due to net fishing and
a third felt that too many fishers also contributed to the decline. Only 5% of fishers in the USVI
felt that fishing was better than 10 years ago.

This census was compared to surveys of the US Virgin Islands fisheries done in 1930 by Fiedler
and Jarvis (1932) and 1968 by Swingle et al. (1970). While the population of the US Virgin











The US Virgin Islands (USVI) is a territory of the United States that lies in the northeast
Caribbean (Fig. 1). It consists of three major islands, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, and
about 50 cays (Fig. 2). St. Thomas and St. John, part of the northern Virgin Islands, lie on the
Puerto Rico Bank that extends from western Puerto Rico to eastern Anegada in the British Virgin
Islands. St. Croix, the largest of the US Virgin Islands, is 40 miles to the south and is separated
from the Puerto Rico Bank by a deep trench. The USVI is politically and administratively
separated into two districts, St. Thomas/St. John District and St. Croix District.

Surveys of the commercial fishery of the USVI go back to at least 1930 when Fiedler and Jarvis
(1932) conducted a survey of the 85% of the fishers and described the fisheries of all three major
islands: St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. This survey was part of the President Hoover's
initiative to improve the economic condition of US Virgin Islanders by analyzing the economic
potential of the fishery of the USVI. In 1959 a survey of the commercial fishery of St. John was
performed by Idyll and Randall (1959) at the request of the U.S. National Park Service. A brief
summary of the St. Croix fishery was presented in 1961 (Anon. 1961) to a meeting of Caribbean
Fisheries officers in San Juan, Puerto Rico (in Swingle et al. 1970). The last major survey of
USVI fisheries was in 1967-68 when Swingle et al. (1970) surveyed an estimated 69% of full-
time fishers and 25% of part-time fishers. Since there was no commercial fisher license in either
1930 or 1967, the universe of commercial fishers could only be estimated when these surveys
were conducted. In 1996 a rapid socioeconomic evaluation was undertaken to ascertain the
impact of a proposed area closure (marine conservation district) south of St. John (Downs and
Petterson 1997). The evaluation consisted of reviewing the literature and interviewing fishers on
St. John and St. Thomas to determine the socioeconomic impact of the area closure on the local
fi Ph prc


US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


biological data on fish and shellfish resources, fisheries management measures based on a
comprehensive range of information can be adopted to ensure sustainable fisheries in the USVI.

Figure 1: Map showing the location of the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.


Figure 2: Map of the US Virgin Islands.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


MATERIALS AND METHODS

A census of commercial fishers of the U.S. Virgin Islands was conducted from July 2003 to
January 2004 in St. Thomas/St. John (STT/STJ) and St. Croix (STX) Districts.

Universe of Commercial Fishers

The universe of licensed commercial fishers was based on the list of licensed commercial fishers
available at the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR), Division of Fish and
Wildlife for the 2002-2003 fishing year. The fishing year in the USVI commences July 1st, when
fishers are required to renew their licenses, and extends to June 30th of the following year. Three
additional licensed fishers were added to the list during the interview period for the census.

Questionnaire Development

The questionnaire used in this survey was modified from the questionnaire used in the periodic
census of fishermen, gear units, and fishing vessels in Puerto Rico (Matos Caraballo and Torres
Rosado, 1989). A copy of the Puerto Rico questionnaire was provided by the Caribbean Fishery
Management Council (CFMC). This questionnaire was modified by Division of Fish and
Wildlife (DFW) staff. The revised questionnaire was reviewed by CFMC and DFW staff, pre-
tested by conducting several interviews with commercial fishers, revised again and finally
approved by CFMC staff. The final approved questionnaire is in Appendix I.

Interviewer Training

A training program was conducted for interviewers on St. Thomas and St. Croix that provided
written background on the purpose of the census and detailed information on how to conduct
interviews and record fisher responses. Interviewers practiced interviewing a staff who
commercially fished. Also, the range of possible responses by fishers was discussed.
Interviewers were asked to conduct face to face interviews with fishers.

Fielding of Questionnaire

Interviews were conducted between July 2003 and January 2004. Some fishers were interviewed
during the annual commercial fisher registration in July 2003. Other fishers were intercepted
and interviewed in the field at landing sites, fish markets, and at fisher meetings held by DFW.
Some fishers were contacted by phone and/or mail so that a meeting could be arranged at a
convenient time and site for the fisher to be interviewed.

Checking of Questionnaires

Completed questionnaires were reviewed by the author and further information or clarification
was requested from the interviewers if required. Respondents were contacted in each district to
verify that the surveys had been conducted.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Description of Fishing Gear

A brief description of the gears listed in the questionnaire is provided in Appendix II.
Interviewers also photographed a variety of fishing boats and gear used in the USVI for provide
a visual record (see Appendix III). Fish and Wildlife staff and some respondents also provided
information on how the gears were fished, and in some cases, the species targeted by fishers
using the gear.

Data Analysis

Data from the questionnaires were entered into an MS Excel spreadsheet and proofed by the
author. Data were entered almost exactly as written on the questionnaires. For example, if a
fisher answered a question by providing a range of values (e.g. 2-3 fishing trips per week), the
range was entered into the database. Also, if there was an explanatory comment on the
questionnaire, it was included in the database. These comments were included for open ended
questions as well as for other questions where fishers provided information relating to the
question. In some cases responses were summarized. This spreadsheet was provided to the
Caribbean Fishery Management Council (CFMC).

In response to the question on ethnicity, some of the black respondents on STX identified
themselves as West Indian and provided the Caribbean island that they were from. This was also
true of respondents identifying themselves as Hispanic, many of whom gave their original home
as Vieques or Puerto Rico. Because not all port samplers elicited a response of West Indian or
recorded what island the fisher was from, West Indian was interpreted as black and information
was omitted on origin from the Hispanic respondents. However, this information was included
in the spreadsheet provided to the CFMC.

The spreadsheet was modified where necessary for data analysis by calculating the means when
answers were a range of values. However, the actual range of values provided was based on the
full range of values provided by respondents.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


RESULTS

Port agents in STT/STJ District conducted successful interviews with 114 of the 160 fishers
licensed at the time of this census (July 2003 to January 2004) (Table 1). The 160 fishers
included 157 fishers in STT/STJ District that were licensed in the 2002/2003 fishing year (Holt
and Uwate, 2004) and three additional fishers who were licensed during the period of the census.
Two of the interviews conducted in STT/STJ District were of fishers who fish commercially but
who were not licensed; they fished on their own using the license of other licensed commercial
fishers. Two licensed fishers refused to be interviewed in STT/STJ District and attempts to
contact the remaining 46 STT/STJ District fishers by phone and through the US postal service
were unsuccessful.

For STX District, depending upon the data source, there were between 201 and 233 licensed
commercial fishers (average 217) for the 2002/03 fishing year (see Holt & Uwate, 2004). A total
of 223 questionnaires were completed in STX District. Port agents conducted successful
interviews with 217 licensed commercial fishers. Six questionnaires were partially completed
based on information from Division of Fish and Wildlife office files. These six additional
licensed commercial fishers could not be contacted because they were recently deceased (one
fisher) or were off island for an extended period, e.g. in the military, or making an extended visit
to the mainland US or their home island. Interviewers censused the entire universe of active STX
licensed commercial fishers. No unlicensed fishers were interviewed on STX.

Table 1: Fisher response rate US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census 2003.
District No. of No. of % of # of # of fishers # of
licensed licensed licensed unlicensed who refused fishers
commercial fishers fishers fishers to be unable to
fishers interviewed interviewed interviewed interviewed be
contacted1
STT/STJ2 160 114 71% 2 2 46
STX3 223 217 97% 0 0 0
USVI 383 331 87% 2 2 46
'Port agents attempted to contact fishers who they had not interviewed by sending a letter through the US postal
service requesting that fishers call the port agents. They also phoned about half of these fishers, but were unable to
speak to them.
213 STJ and 103 STT commercial fishers were interviewed.
3Port agents submitted 223 questionnaires: 217 interviews were completed and 6 questionnaires were partially
completed from information in DPNR Division of Fish and Wildlife files.


Question 1: Name of Commercial Fisher and Question 3. Nickname.

This is confidential information and will not be reported on in this document.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Question 2: Ethnicity.

The majority of commercial fishers in the USVI identified themselves as black or West Indian
(38.5%), Hispanic (33.1%) or French (16.7%) (Table 2). Most fishers in STT/STJ District were
of French descent (black and white) (55.2%) or black (32.5% or 38.6% including those who
responded black French). Most commercial fishers in STX District were either Hispanic or black
(Table 2).


Table 2 (Q. 2): Ethnic composition of commercial Eshers in the US
oc mmon response is in bold type)


Virgin Islands. (The most


STT/STJ District STX District USVI
Ethnic Group N1 Percent N Percent N Percent
French2 56 49.1% 0 0.0% 56 16.7%
Black French 7 6.1% 0 0.0% 7 2.1%
White 10 8.8% 17 7.7% 27 8.1%
Hispanic 4 3.5% 107 48.4% 111 33.1%
Black3 37 32.5% 92 41.6% 129 38.5%
Black Hispanic 0 0.0% 4 1.8% 4 1.2%
East Indian 0 0.0% 1 0.5% 1 0.3%
Total 114 100.0% 221 100.00% 335 100.0%
lx r 1 1 -.I1 A 1 ~ r >


IN = total number o01 isners wio responuae to tins quesuon or whose etmniciy was Known oy staii in me case of
questionnaires completed from DFW office records.
20f French descent. Did not include fishers who identified themselves as black French.
3In St. Thomas/St. John District, black did not include people who considered themselves black and French. In St.
Croix District, black included people who identified themselves as West Indians.


Question 4: Age.

Fishers in STX District were on average older than STT/STJ District (Table 3, Fig. 3). However,
the difference was not statistically significant (two-tailed t-test = 1.96, p = 0.0589, df = 326). The
oldest licensed commercial fisher in the USVI was 85 and resided on St. Thomas. The modal age
class in STT/STJ District was 41-50 years (Fig. 3), while in St. Croix District the peak age class
was 51-60 years.

Table 3 (Q. 4): Age of commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
St. Thomas/St. John St. Croix District USVI
District
Mean age (yrs) (SD') 48.6 (+12.89) 51.4 (+12.51) 50.5 (+12.68)
Median age (yrs) 49 53 52
Mode of age (yrs) 45 60 47
Minimum age (yrs) 21 20 20
Maximum age (yrs) 85 80 85
Total2 107 221 328
'SD = Standard Deviation
2Total = total number of fishers who responded to this question


_ f







US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


uu no IA Uistnct
/I USVI
S80
U-
60

E 40
z
20

0o
0-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 >71
Age of Commercial Fishers

Figure 3 (Q.4): Age distribution of commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands in 2003.

Question 5: Phone and Question 6: Address.

This is confidential information and will not be included here. These questions were asked in
case any follow up was required. They were also asked to ensure that fishers with similar names
could be differentiated.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Question 8: Type of fisher full-time (>36hrs/week), part-time (<36hrs/week),
opportunistic, or charter.

Two-thirds of commercial fishers in the USVI considered themselves full time commercial
fishers (Table 5) based on the amount of time (defined as >36 hrs per week) they spent fishing
and carrying out fishing related activities such as constructing and repairing gear, maintaining
their boats, and selling their catch. However, there was a higher percentage of commercial
fishers in STX District (39%) who considered themselves part-time or opportunistic fishers than
in STT/STJ District (21.8%).


Table 5 (Q. 8): Responses of commercial fishers to the question of whether they were full time
fishers (>36 hrs/week spent doing fishing related activities), part time fishers (<36 hrs/week),
opportunistic fishers, or charter fishers.
St. Thomas/ St. Croix District USVI
St. John District
Type of Fisher N* Percent N Percent N Percent
Full Time 85 77.3% 130 61.0% 215 66.6%
Part Time 21 19.1% 67 31.5% 88 27.2%
Opportunistic 3 2.7% 16 7.5% 19 5.9%
Charter 1 0.9% 0 0.0% 1 0.3%
Total 110 100.00% 213 100.0% 323 100.0%
*N = total number of fishers who responded to this question.


Question 9: Are you a licensed commercial fisher?

In STT/STJ District all but two of the 114 interviewees who responded to this question were
licensed. The two unlicensed fishers commercially fished on their own under another fisher's
license. One of the two fished using his father's license. In STX District, all 217 respondents
were licensed commercial fishers.


Question 10. Do you belong to a commercial fishing organization?

Most commercial fishers on STT/STJ District (98.2%) did not belong to any fishing organization
(Table 6). Although this was true in STX District (76%) as well, a substantial number (20.3%)
belong to the Fishermen's United Services Cooperative (St. Croix) (Table 6).






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 6 (Q. 10): Number and percentage of commercial fishers belonging to a fishing
organization in the US Virgin Islands.
St. Thomas/ S
St. Croix
St. John trUSVI
tDistrict
District
Organizations N Percent N Percent N Percent
No organization 111 97.3% 165 76.0% 276 83.4%
STT/STJ Fishery Advisory Committee 1 0.9% 0.0% 1 0.3%
STX Fishery Advisory Committee 0.0% 1 0.5% 1 0.3%
VI Game Fishing Club 1 0.9% 0.0% 1 0.3%
Golden Hook Fishing Club 0.0% 2 0.9% 2 0.6%
Fishermen's United Services Cooperative
STX 0.0% 44 20.3% 44 13.3%
Belonged to organization but no name
provided 0.0% 4 1.8% 4 1.2%
Caribbean Fishery Management Council
(CFMC) Scientific and Statistical
Committee 0.0% 1 0.5% 1 0.3%
CFMC Advisory Panel 0.0% 2 0.9% 2 0.6%
CFMC Council Member 1 0.9% 0.0% 1 0.3%
Total # of respondents 114 100.0% 217 100.9% o 331 100.6%
Total # of responses 114 219 333
'Two respondents indicated that they belonged to more than one organization.


Question 11. What do you commercially fish for?

Interviewers asked fishers what category offish they targeted (Table 7). The most common
category of fish harvested by fishers in both districts was reef fish (82.3%) (Table 7). In STX
District, deepwater snapper was the second most commonly targeted category with 42.3% of
fishers targeting this group. Deepwater snapper were not commonly fished on STT/STJ (only
4.5% of fishers targeted this category). Deepwater pelagic fish were also more commonly
targeted in STX District (33.0%) than in STT/STJ District (9.8%) where coastal pelagic fish
were targeted by a higher percentage of fishers (Table 7). Lobsters were an important target
species in both STT/STJ and STX Districts. Conch were an important part of the fishery in STX
District with 84 fishers (39%) indicating that they fished for conch. In STT/STJ District only 10
fishers (8.9%) stated that they fished for conch. In contrast, whelk was fished by more fishers in
STT/STJ District (14.3%) than in STX District (4.7%).






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 7 (Q. 11): Number and percentage of commercial fishers targeting various categories of
fish, mollusks, and crustaceans in the US Virgin Islands.
St. Thomas/St. John
t. T D St. Croix District USVI
District
Categories of N1 Percent N Percent N Percent
fish
Reef fish 87 77.7% 182 84.7% 269 82.3%
Coastal pelagic 60 53.6% 80 37.2% 140 42.8%
Deep pelagic 11 9.8% 71 33.0% 82 25.1%
Deepwater
snapper 5 4.5% 91 42.3% 96 29.4%
Bait fish 33 29.5% 31 14.4% 64 19.6%
Conch 10 8.9% 84 39.1% 94 28.7%
Whelk 16 14.3% 10 4.7% 26 8.0%
Lobster 40 35.7% 87 40.5% 127 38.8%
Total #
otal262 636 898
responses
Total #
respondents 112 234.0%2 215 295.9% 327 274.7%
1N = total number of fishers who responded to this question.
Percent totals more than 100% because fishers frequently fished more than one category.

Number of different categories offish targeted by fishers

Only 30.4% of fishers in STT/STJ District and 19.1% in STX District targeted fisheries products
in only one category (Table 8). Most fishers in the USVI targeted fish in at least 2 to 4 different
categories.

Table 8 (Q. 11): Number and percentage of commercial fishers harvesting one or more than one
category offish listed in Table 7 in the US Virgin Islands.
St. Thomas/St. John
T. J St. Croix District USVI
District
No. of different
categories fished N1 Percent N Percent N Percent
by fishers
1 34 30.4% 41 19.1% 75 22.94%
2 42 37.4% 59 27.4% 101 30.89%
3 18 16.1% 48 22.3% 66 20.18%
4 9 8.0% 35 16.3% 44 13.46%
5 4 3.6% 15 7.0% 19 5.81%
6 3 2.7% 6 2.8% 9 2.75%
7 1 0.9% 6 2.8% 7 2.14%
8 1 0.9% 5 2.3% 6 1.83%
Total 112 100.0% 215 100.0% 327 100.00%
N = total number of fishers who responded to this question.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


to keep fishing?

The average number of years respondents had fished in the USVI is 22.8 years (Table 9). A
two-sample t-test (equal variances) revealed that there was a significant difference in the number
of years respondents fished in the two districts (t = 2.03, df = 328, p = 0.04). On average, fishers
had fished longer in STT/STJ District than in STX District.


Table 9 (Q.12): Mean, standard deviation (SD), and range of years that commercial fishers
stated that they fished in the US Virgin Islands.
Number of St. Thomas/St. John St. C x D t
St. Croix District USVI
years fished District
Mean (SD) 24.8 (+13.7) 21.7 (+12.6) 22.8 (+13.5)
Range 2-67 0 -65 0 -67
N* 115 215 330
*N = total number of fishers who responded to this question.

In STT/STJ District almost 50% of fishers fished for 16 to 30 years (Table 10). In STX District,
slightly over 40% of fishers fished for this length of time. Respondents in STT/STJ District
fished more years than respondents in STX District (Fig. 4). The relatively low percentage of
new entrants to the fishery was in part because of a moratorium on issuance of new licenses that
had been in effect since August 24, 2001. A higher percentage of respondents in STX District
fished <15 years (37.2%) than STT/STJ District (26.1%).


Table 10 (Q. 12): Number of years that commercial fishers stated that they fished in the US
Virgin Islands. _______II ___
C1 Thrmac/C- li-hnI







US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


25.0%

O STT/STJ
20.0% U STX

0 USVI
= 15.0%
*-C
o
15.0%


S 10.0%- --------





0.0%
<5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 26-30 31-35 36-40 >41
Number of years fished


STT/STJ= St. Thomas/St. John District, STX = St. Croix District, USVI = US Virgin Islands


Over half the fishers in the USVI planned to fish for life (52.8%) (Table 11). Over 70% of fishers
in STT/STJ District, planned to fish for life and only 4.4% planned to fish less than 5 years,
while in STX District 41% planned to fish for life and 12% planned to continue fishing for less
than S vP.Jr






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Question 13: How many fishing boats do you own for commercial fishing?

Most of the boats included in Table 12 were registered fishing boats that were actively used in
the fishery. Fishers also reported unregistered fishing boats that were under repair. A few
fishers provided information on dinghies used to access their fishing boats and these were also
included in Table 12. Only 7% of USVI commercial fishers did not own a boat; most fishers
owned just one boat (Table 12).

Table 12 (Q. 13): Number of boats owned by commercial fishers in the US Virgin
Islands.

Number of boats' St. Thomas/St. John District St. Croix District USVI

N2 % N % N %
0 13 11.3% 10 4.7% 23 7.0%
1 70 60.3% 1613 75.9% 231 70.4%
2 26 22.4% 35 16.5% 61 18.6%
3 7 6.0% 4 1.9% 11 3.4%
4 0 0.0% 2 1.0% 2 0.6%
Total 116 100.00% 212 100.00% 328 100.00%
Mean 1.2 1.2 1.2
If fishers co-owned a boat or boats, the number of boats was divided among the fishers and rounded up to the next
whole number.
2N=Total number of fishers who responded to this question.
3 Included a boat owned not by the fisher but by the son of the fisher.


Question 14: Registration numbers for each boat owned.

Based on the registration numbers provided and responses that indicated that the fisher owned a
boat but could not remember the registration number, there were an average of 1.1 boats per
fisher in the USVI (Table 13). This result is similar to the result shown in Table 12.

Table 13 (Q. 14): Total number of boats that commercial fishers stated was registered and mean
number of boats owned by commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
St. Thomas/St. John
t. T. J St. Croix District USVI
District
Number of
boats 135 225 360
No. of
respondents 116 217 333
Mean # of
boats 1.2 1.0 1.1






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Question 15: Year boat built.

Nearly forty-two percent (42%) of vessels used by commercial fishers in the USVI were built
before 1981 with the highest percentage of vessels in both districts built between 1971-1980
(Table 14).

Table 14 (Q. 15): Age of boats used by commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
St. Thomas/St. John St. Croix District USVI
District
Age of boat N % N % N %
<1960 1 1.6% 0 0.0% 1 0.6%
1961-1970 4 6.3% 6 4.9% 10 5.3%
1971-1980 23 35.8% 44 35.8% 67 35.8%
1981-1990 20 31.3% 29 23.6% 49 26.2%
1991-2000 15 23.4% 40 32.5% 55 29.4%
>2001 1 1.6% 4 3.3% 5 2.7%
Total # of
responses' 64 100.0% 123 100.0% 187 100.00%
# of "don't
know"
response2 45 99 144
1N = number of boats for which a fisher provided the age of the boat
2Number of responses for which a fisher did not know the age of the boat.

Question 16: Boat length.

A two-sample t-test (unequal variances) revealed that there was no significant difference in the
mean size of boats used by commercial fishers in the two districts (t = 0.98, df = 224.5, p =
0.327). The mean size of boats owned by commercial fishers in the USVI was 21.0 feet (Table
15). Boat size ranged from 6 to 54 feet with the smaller boats being dinghies used primarily to
access the larger fishing boats on moorings. Almost three quarters of commercial fishers in the
USVI fished from boats 16 25 feet in length (Table 16). A higher percentage of fishers in
STT/STJ District (25.9%) had boats >26 feet compared with STX District (8.8%).

Table 15 (Q. 16): Length of boats (feet) used by US Virgin Islands commercial fishers.
St. Thomas/St. John St. Croix District USVI
District
Mean (SD1) 21.4 (+7.5) 20.7 (+5.4) 21.0 (+6.2)
Range 6 48 10 54 6 54
Number of boats 139 248 387
N2 101 202 303
'SD = Standard Deviation
2N = Number of fishers who responded to this question.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 16 (Q. 16): Number and percentage of boats in different length classes used by US Virgin
Islands commercial fishers.
St. Thomas/St. John St. Croix District USVI
District
Length of
boats (feet) N* % N % N %
<10 9 6.5% 2 0.8% 11 2.8%
11-15 12 8.6% 26 10.5% 38 9.8%
16-20 49 35.3% 107 43.1% 156 40.3%
21-25 33 23.7% 91 36.7% 124 32.0%
26-30 18 12.9% 11 4.4% 29 7.5%
31-35 13 9.4% 5 2.0% 18 4.7%
35-40 4 2.9% 4 1.6% 8 2.1%
>40 1 0.7% 2 0.8% 3 0.8%
Total #
T l 139 100.0% 248 100.0% 387 100.0%
boats
Total #
S 101 202 303
respondents
*N = number of boats in size class

Question 17: Number and type of engine.

About 85% of commercial fishing boats in the USVI were powered by outboard engines with the
highest proportion of fishing boats powered by outboard engines in STX District (92.5%) (Table
17). Seventy percent (70%) of commercial fishers in the USVI used only one outboard engine
on their boats with a higher proportion of STT/STJ fishers having only one outboard engine
(83%) compared to STX fishers (64.7%) (Table 18).

STT/STJ District fishers had a higher proportion of boats with inboard and inboard/outboard
engines (27.1%) on their fishing boats than did STX District fishers (7.5%) (Table 17). Three of
the 15 fishing boats in STX District that were powered by inboard engines had two engines,
while none of the STT/STJ District boats with inboard engines had more than one engine. Three
commercial fishers in STX District fished using small aluminum boats with no engines; they
simply rowed their boats.


Table 17 (Q. 17): Number and percentage of commercial fishing
or inboard/outboard engines in the US Virgin Islands.


boats with inboard, outboard,


St. Thomas/St. John St. Croix District USVI
District
Type of Engine on
boats N* % N % N %
Inboard 33 25.6% 18 7.5% 51 13.9%
Outboard 94 72.9% 221 92.5% 315 85.6%
Inboard/Outboard 2 1.5% 0 0% 2 0.5%
Total # boats 129 100.0% 239 100.0% 368 100.00%
Total #
respondents 96 204
*N = number of boats






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 18 (Q. 17): Number of outboard engines used per fishing boat in the US Virgin Islands.
St. Thomas/St. John St. Croix District USVI
District
No. outboard
engines per
boat N* % N % N %
1 78 83.0% 143 65.6% 221 70.1%
2 16 17.0% 74 33.9% 90 28.6%
3 0 0.0% 1 0.5% 1 0.3%
Total 94 100.0% 218 100.00% 315 100.0%
*N= number of fishers responding to this question.

Question 18: Horsepower of engines.

A wide range of engine sizes was used by commercial fishers. Most fishers used outboard
engines on their boats and most engines were between 26 to 150 hp (Table 19). Inboard engines
were larger, most having >100 hp (Table 20).

Table 19 (Q. 18). The number and percentage of outboard engines in different size classes used
by commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
St. Thomas/St. John St. Croix District USVI
District
Engine hp N* % N % N %
<25 10 9.2% 42 14.2% 52 12.9%
26-50 37 33.9% 49 16.5% 86 21.2%
51-75 17 15.6% 72 24.3% 89 21.9%
76-100 13 11.9% 60 20.2% 73 18.0%
101-150 18 16.5% 49 16.5% 67 16.6%
151-200 10 9.2% 16 5.6% 26 6.4%
>200 4 3.7% 8 2.7% 12 3.0%
Total #
responses 109 100.0% 296 100.0% 405 100.0%
*N = number of responses

Table 20 (Q. 18): The number and percentage of inboard engines in different size classes used
by commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands.
St. Thomas/St. John St. Croix District USVI
District
Engine hp N* % N % N %
<25 0 0.0% 1 4.0% 1 2.0%
26-50 0 0.0% 2 8.0% 2 4.1%
51-75 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
76-100 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
101-150 3 125% 2 8.0% 5 10.2%
151-200 11 45.8% 3 12.0% 14 28.6%
>200 10 41.7% 17 68.0% 27 55.1%
Total # of
responses 24 100.0% 25 100.0% 49 100.0%
*N = number of responses






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Fuel used in outboard motors was primarily gas or gas and oil (Table 21). Inboard engines
predominately used diesel fuel.

Table 21 (Q. 19): Type of fuel used in engines in commercial fishing boats in the US Virgin
Islands.
St. Thomas/St. St. Croix District USVI
John District
Fuel Type N1 % N % N %
Outboard
Engine
Gas 74 83.1% 142 65.7% 216 70.8%
Gas & Oil 15 16.9% 73 33.8% 88 28.9%
Diesel 0 0.0% 1 0.5% 1 0.3%
Total 89 100.0% 216 100.0% 305 100.0%
Inboard Engine
Gas 0 0.0% 7 38.9% 7 13.7%
Gas & Oil 12 3.0% 0 0.0% 1 2.0%
Diesel 32 97.0% 11 61.1% 43 84.3%
Total 33 100.0% 18 100.0% 51 100.0%
N = Number of engines of each type.
2It is likely that this response is not accurate unless many boats have oil injected engines and the fishers responded
gas because they did not premix oil with the gas.


Question 20: Do you own the boat you use for commercial fishing?






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 23 (Q. 21). Number and percentage of commercial fishing boats constructed of various
types of material in the USVI.
St. Thomas/St. St. Croix District USVI
John District
Construction
material N* % N % N %
Aluminum 2 1.5% 11 4.4% 13 3.4%
Fiberglass 79 57.6% 200 80.7% 279 72.4%
Fiberglass &
wood 50 36.5% 31 12.5% 81 21.0%
Wood 6 4.4% 5 0.4% 1 2.9%
Steel 0 0.0% 1 2.0% 11 0.3%
Total 137 100.0% 248 100.00% 385 100.0%
*N = number of responses.

Question 22: Boat electronic equipment.

Only 9% of commercial fishers in the USVI carried an EPIRB on their boats (Table 24). The
percentage of commercial fishers in STT/STJ District carrying EPIRBs was twice as high as
STX District but still very low (12.6%). Over half carried cell phones and nearly a third marine
radios.

Table 24 (Q. 22): Number of various types of electronic equipment used on commercial fishing
boats and the percentage of boats using each type of equipment.
St. Thomas/St. St. Croix District USVI
John District
Electronic
Equipment N1 %2 N % N %
Echo Sounder 73 52.5% 71 28.6% 144 37.2%
Cell Phone 74 53.2% 158 63.7% 232 59.9%
GPS 58 41.7% 37 14.9% 95 24.5%
EPIRB 19 13.7% 16 6.5% 35 9.0%
Radar 2 1.4% 4 1.6% 6 1.6%
Marine Radio 64 46.0% 53 21.4% 117 30.2%
Total #
otal290 339 629
responses
Total 1393 408.5% 2483 136.7% 3873 162.4%
'N = number of responses
2Percentage of boats with equipment
3Total # of boats

Question 23: Fishing equipment.

Respondents indicated the type of fishing equipment they had installed on their vessels (Table
25). In STT/STJ District, the most common equipment onboard fishing vessels was a winch,
reflecting the importance of trap fishing in the district. In STX District, the most common






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 25 (Q. 23): Number of various types of fishing equipment used on commercial fishing
boats in the USVI and the percentage of boats using each type of equipment.
St. Thomas/St. St. Croix District USVI
John District
Fishing
Equipment N' %2 N % N %
Winch 37 26.6% 18 7.3% 55 14.2%
Hydraulic Reel 5 3.6% 2 0.8% 7 1.8%
Electric Reel 7 5.0% 25 10.2% 32 8.3%
Gas Reel 1 0.7% 1 0.4% 2 0.5%
Hand Reel 0 0.0% 8 3.2% 8 2.1%
Total #
responses 50 54 108
Total 1393 35.9% 2483 21.9% 3873 26.9%
N = number of responses
2Percentage of boats with equipment
3Total # of boats

Question 24: Fishing gear used by commercial fishers.

Fishers were asked detailed questions about their fishing gear (see page 2 of the questionnaire,
Appendix I). Brief descriptions of these gears are in Appendix II. Responses to this question are
provided in Tables 26 to 44.

One of the gears or fishing methods listed, hookah diving, was not used by fishers in either
district.


Several gears were only recorded from one district. These included ballyhoo nets (Table 27),
which were only used on STT/STJ District. This gear was not listed on the questionnaire and as
a result others may have used these specialized nets but not reported their use to interviewers.
A r ." l 1- -*-/-.- \/P-Ll-l A- \ A Il- - L' 1-- -- -*- /P-Ll-1 >^\ - -1-- --1-- - -l -












Table 26 (Q. 24): Summary of beach seine information from respondents.

Bar
Total # # of gears # of Bar #
# of gears: o d by g s Mesh Length Width Height Hours Hours f s Season
# of gears: owned by gears ,fishers
fishers fishers: fished: Construction size (ft): (ft): (ft): soaked: fished: fishing gear
fishers fishers: fished: fishing
tion sa led Oned Mean Mean material: (in): Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean in: fished
Location sampled Owned Mean Mean i M M M n:
owning Max Max Mean Max Max Max Max Max 3 m
owning Max Max = N1 <3 mi
gear Fished Mi M (#) = N Max Mi Min Min Min Min mi (#) = N
gear Fished Mmn Mmn >3 mi
Min SD SD SD SD SD
SD SD Both
SD

1.2 Question 1.9 565 32 6.9
11
STT/STJ 3 not asked 2.5 1200 42 4 Yr
Distt 15 16 1 in Nylon (15) 1.3 80 n/a 12 n/a 10 round
0.7 STT/STJ 0.95 300 8.8 2.0 (11)
N=13 District N=ll N=14 N=15 N=12
1.3 1.3 1.6 1475 56 4.7
STX 4 2 2 2.5 2500 98 8 Yr
District 3 3 1 1 Nylon (4) 0.5 600 n/a 15 n/a 4 2 round
N=3 0.6 n/a 0.9 921.5 47.3 1.2 (3)
N=3 N=2 N=4 N=4 N=4 N=3
1.25 1.8 767 36.8 4.7
14
3 2.5 2500 98 10 Yr
USVI 16 20 1 Nylon (19) 0.5 80 n/a 12 n/a 4 2 round
0.58 0.5 609 23.2 1.2 (14)
N=16
N=16 N=15 N=18 N=19 N=15
N = Number of responses







US Virgin Islands Commercial Fi,


Table 27 (Q. 24): Summary of ballyhoo net information from respondents.
Bar
Total # # of gears # of Mesh
Length Width Height
sizeConstruction (ft): (ft): (ft):
of gears: owned by gears Construction (in):
material: Mean Mean Mean
f i s h e r s f i s h e r s : f i s h e d : M e antr i o n M e a n M e a n M e a n
Location sampled Owned Mean Mean Mean M
Max Max Max
owning Max (# Max M 2 Max Min
gear Fished Min Min Min D
SD1 SD SD SD SD SD


1 Question 0.875 400 13.3
not asked 1.25 540 18
STT/STJ 1
.Di t 3 3 in Nylon (3) 0.5 300 n/a 10
District 1
STT/STJ n/a 124.9 4.2
N=3
District N=2 N=3 N=3
STX
District 0

Gear
USVI reported
.Distrt only from
STT/STJ
District
SStandard Deviation
2N = Number of responses


23







US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 28 (Q. 24): Summary of haul seine information from respondents.
Bar
Total # # of gears # of Mesh #
l # # of Length Width Height Hours Hours
# of gears: owned by gears size h W h H t H s H s fishers Season
Construction (ft): (ft): (ft): soaked: fished:
fishers fishers: fished: C ti (in): fishing gear
fishers fishes:material: Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean
Location sampled Owned Mean Mean ean Mean in: fished
Max Max Max Max Max
owning Max Max 2 Max Mx Mix Mx Mx Mx <3 mi (#) = N
.I (#) = N Min Min Min Min Min
gear Fished Min Min Min SD SD SD S >3 mi
SD1 SD SD SD SD SD SD SD Both

1 Question 0.875 454 22.0 6.0 6
STT/STJ 63 1 not asked 15 1080 38 2 0Yr
STT/STJ 6- 1.5 0
Distt 6 1 in Nylon (6) 30 n/a 6 n/a 12 round
0 STT/STJ 3 433 13.2 3.6 (5)
N=6 District NG=5 N=5 N=4
1 1.75 1100 43.6 6.0 Yr
STX 1 Nylon (4) 2.5 2000 85 10 round
5 1
District 5 1 n/a Monofilament 1 500 n/a 8 n/a 2 1(4)
0 (1) 0.95 711.1 35.8 3.0 5 Oct-
N=5 N=5 N=5 N=5 N=5 Jan(1)
1 1.5 777 32.8 6.0 Yr
11
1 Nylon (6) 2.5 2000 85 12 round
Dis t 11 11 1 Monofilament 0.25 30 n/a 6 n/a 2 1 (9)
0 (1) 0.7 607 27.2 3.0 1 Oct-Jan
N=6 N=8 N=10 N=10 N=9 (1)
1Standard Deviation
N = Number of responses
3Two fishers use their haul seines for catching ballyhoo






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fi,


ineu:
fean


lon (18)
4 ---


SL


2.8 2.1 380
24 Nylon (22) 3.5 1200
USVI 110
. 39 1 Mono 1.25 90 n/;
District 1 7 filimnt (' OPR ??1


I


I







US Virgin Islands Commercial Fi,


U3VI 10 /
District 10 I I I I_ I _
SStandard Deviation
2N = Number of responses
3Data from STT/STJ fishers are too few to do a USVI analysis


Consi
mal


S







US Virgin Islands Commercial Fi,


Table 31 (Q. 24): Summary of cast net information from respondents.
T l # of Bar
Total
gears # of Mesh
S# gears #of Mesh Length Width Height 1
# of owned gears Construction size (ft): (ft): (ft):
gears: (ft): (ft): (ft): so
fishers gears: by fished: material: (in): Mean Men M n
Mean Mean Mean 11
Location sampled d fishers: Mean Mean Max Ma Ma
Owned 2 Max Max Max
owning Mean Max (#) = N Max M
S Min Min Min
gear F d Max Min Minm
Fished SD SD SD SD SD
Min SD SD
SD1
2.3 Question 0.36 7.0
not 0.5 12
STT/STJ 107 8 in Nylon (42) 0.8 n n
D r. 47 asked in 0.18 n/a n/a 4
District n/a 1
SSTT/STJ 0.14 1.57
N=47
District N= 13 N=105


1.4 Most Nylon (35) 0.46 9.3
1.4 Most 0.46
Monofilament 12
STX 3 fishers 2.5
District 100 137 1 fish all (91) 0.125 n/a n/a
n/a Polyurethane 2.0
0.56 their Polyurethane 0.30
(2) N=122
N=100 gears N=123



1.7 Nylon (77) 0.45 8.3
Monofilament
8 2.5 12
USVI (91)
USVI 147 244 1 ) 1.25 n/a n/a 4
District 1.1 Polyurethane 0.28 2.1
1.1 0.28 2.1
N=147 (2) N=135 N=233
'Standard Deviation
2N = Number of responses








27







US Virgin Islands Commercial Fi,


Table 32 (Q. 24): Summary of umbrella net information from respondents.
Bar
Total # # of gears # of Mesh Length W h
S Length Width Height
# of gears: owned by gears Construction size ft): t): t):
fishers fishers: fished: material: (in): Mean Mean Mean
Mean Mean Mean
Location sampled Owned Mean Mean Mean M
owning Max Max (#) = N Max Mai Max Max
Min Min Min
gear Fished Min Min Min
SD SD SD
SD1 SD SD

STT/STJ
District




1 0.59
STX 4 1 Nylon (1) 0.75 7.3
District 4 n/a Monofilament n/a n/a 8
n/a 1 0.38
N=4 N=4 4




Gear
USVI reported
District only from
STX
'SD = Standard Deviation
2 N = Number of responses













28







US Virgin Islands Commercial Fi,


Table 33 (Q. 24): Summary of plastic lobster pot information from respondents
Bar
Total # # of gears # of Mesh Length Width Height
Length Width Height
# of gears: owned by gears size ft): (ft): (ft):
fishers fishers: fished: Construction (in): Mean Mean Mean
Mean Mean Mean
Location sampled Owned Mean Mean material: Mean M
Max Max Max
owning Max Max Max M
Min Min Min
gear Fished Min Min Min
SD1 SD SD1 SD SD SD
SD1 SD SD1

204 Question
STT/STJ 400 notasked Plastic by 2.5 1.8 1.5
10 2036 6 in
District 109.5 S J definition N=2 N=2 N=2
109.5 STT/STJ
N=10 District
STX
District 0

Gear only
USVI reported
from
District
STT/STJ
District
1SD = Standard Deviation
2 N = Number of responses















29







US Virgin Islands Commercial Fi,


Table 34 (Q. 24): Summary of modified fish trap (pot) and dee water shrimp trap (pot) inforn
# of Bar
Total # gears # of Mesh Length Width Height
Length Width Height
# of fishers gears: owned gears size (: t): (
# of fishers (ft): (ft): (ft):
by fished: Construction (in): Mean Mean M
sampled Mean Mean Mean
Location Owned fishers: Mean material: Mean M
owning Max Max Max
Mean Max Max .
gear Mean Max Max Min M Mm
S Fished Max Min Min SD SD S
SD SD SD
Min SD SD
SD1
28 Question
28 97.1 Queston Wire 2 3.75 3.25 1.7
Used to not asked
STT/STJ 545 Wire & Rebar 2 5 4 4
catch 2719 in
District 5 Plastic coated 2 3 1.5 1.5
lobster STT/STJ
N=28 stwire N=23 N=12 N=12 N=12
District
Used to
STX
catch Plastic coated
District h 25 25 25 0.75 3 2 1.5
deepwater wire
shrimp
Data
USV3 between
.Distt districts is
District
nnt







US Virgin Islands Commercial Fi,


Table 35 (q. 24): Summary of lish trap (pot) information from respondents.


1234


2
2


(rebar?)
ame
1.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fi,


Table 36 (Q. 24): Summary of surface longline information from respondents.
# of fishers fishing in
territorial (<3 mi) or
federal (>3 mi) Season used
waters or both (< Lengi
Sand > 3 mi) gears gears
and > 3 mi) (ft)
Usend- U owned fished (ft)
Use Use
# Yr
Location > 3 <3 Both Other
Fishers round
miles miles
St. Total 8 n/a
Thomas/ Mean 8 120C
1 1 0 0 1 0
St. John Range 8 120C
District N1 1 1
Total 2 0
St. Mean 1 30m
Croix 2 2 0 0 2 0 Range 1 10-5(
District mi
N 2 2
Total 10
Mean 3.3
USVI 3 3 0 0 3 0 Range 1-8 1200
1-8-50n
50 n
N 3
N = number of fishers responding.










32






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 37 (Q.24): Summary of bottom longline information from respondents.
# of fishers fishing in
territorial (<3 mi) or
federal (>3 mi) Season fished
# # # of
waters or both (< and Length # Hrs
_____ >3 gears gears lines/ L g r
> 3 mi) owned fished boat (ft) hooks fished
owned fished boat
Use
# <3 Use > 3 Yr
Location Fishers miles miles Both round Other
St. Total 2 n/a
Thomas/ Mean 2 n/a 300 100 n/a
1 1 1 1 1 0
St. John Range 2 300 100
District N1 1 1 1
Total 20 n/a
St. Mean 6.7 6 1100 39 10
Croix 3 1 2 2 0 1000- 10-70 8-12
District Range 3-10 5-7 12002 (40.8) (2)
N 3 1 3 3 3
Total 22
Mean 5.5 1027 50
USVI 4 2 3 1 3 0 300- 10-
Range 2-10 1200 100
(400) (38.2)
N 4 4 4
N = number of fishers responding.
2The mean depth of deployment for all fishers is 1100 feet. One bottom longline fisher uses a "hooker tracker," described as a weighted scaffold with 70 hooks
attached, at depths between 1000-1200 feet.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 39 (Q. 24): Summary of vertical setline single hook information from respondents.
# of fishers fishing in territorial
(<3 mi) or federal (>3 mi) Season used # of
# gears Length # Hrs
waters or both (< and > 3 mi)) gears lines/ Length # Hrs
#---77Use Use >3 Yr owned boat (ft) hooks fished
# Use Use > 3 Yr boat
Location Fishers <3 miles miles Both round Other
St. Total 5
Mean 5 100 1 n/a
Thomas/
h. omn 1 1 1 1 1 0 Range
St. John SD5 100
District (
N 1 1
Total 35
Mean 3.5 2.9 812.5 1 6.5
Sept -
Jan 1) Range 2-5 2-5 700- 2-12
St. Croix Sept- (SD) (1.3) 1000 (2.0)
District 10 9 6 5 7 Oct(1) # gear -
District Oct (1)
8
Oct-
Feb(l) N 10 10 # 10
fishers -
2
Total 40
Mean 3.6
See
USVI 11 10 7 6 8 above Range 2-5
(SD) (1.3)
N 11
N = number of fishers responding, SD = standard deviation






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 40 (Q.24): Summary of trolling gear information from respondents (R&R = Rod & Reel, HL = Hand line).
# of fishers fishing in
# of f rs territorial (<3 mi) or
# of fishers # gears
federal (>3 mi) Season used # gears
using gear waters or both < owned/fisher # of
t. # waters or both ( Location lines/ h frs
Fishers and > 3 mi)boat hooks fished
Use Use
Yr
R&R HL <3 >3 Both Other R&R HL
round
miles miles
Total' 115 11 29
St. Winter/
Mean 5.5 2.2 1.07 6.8
Thomas/ Spring(1)
homs 30 24 12 23 21 15 22 pm Range 1-20 1-4 1-2 2-15
(SD2) (5.1) (1.3) 5 (0.3) (3.2)
District (1) 3
N 21 5 1 27 27
Dolphin Total 119 340 133
season (2) Mean 5.2 6.2 2.3 1.5 4.6
Tuna season Range 1-12 1-30 1-9 1-10 0.5-13
St. Croix (1) (SD) (3.4) 6.0) (1.4) (1.5) (2.8)
District 88 32 70 68 71 52 76 Opportunistic
District
(2)
Sept-Oct(1) N 23 55 84 86 86
Sept-Nov (1)
Oct-Apr (1)
Total 234 351 162
Mean 5.3 5.8 2.3 1.4 5.1
USVI 118 56 82 91 92 67 98 See above Range 1-20 1-30 1-9 1-10 0.5-15
(SD) (4.2) (5.8) (1.4) (1.3) (3.0)
N 44 60 84 113 113
1The totals are an underestimate because 1) not all fisher were interviewed in St. Thomas/St. John District and 2) because some of fishers did not provide
numbers of gear or did not break down the numbers of gear into R&R and HL.
2SD = Standard Deviation
3 N = Number of fishers responding






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table? 41 (0. 24): Su~mmary of' annhor fishing Penr information from resnondents (R&Rr Rod & Reel HI.


Haniline)


. . .2 Z .. .,, - - e- e - - - - - - -r - -- -.
# of fishers fishing in
territorial (<3 mi) or
# of fishers # gears
Sisters federal (>3 mi) Season used # gears
using gear waters or both < owned/fisher # of
t. # waters or both ( Location lines/ h Hrs
Fishers and > 3 mi)boat hooks fished
Use Use
Yr
R&R HL <3 >3 Both Other R&R HL
round
miles miles
Total1 4 98 81
St. /Mean 2 6.1 2 1.3 7.22
Thomas/ Winter/spring M 2 6
66 3 65 55 43 34 59 Range 1-20 1-6 3-14
St. John (1) (SD3) 1-3 (5.4) (0.8) (2.7)
District 4
ist rct 4 2 16 1 64 63
Total 9 948 325
St. Croix During conch Mean 4.5 7.9 3.1 2.6 5.8
Ditt 128 3 127 114 55 44 120 season (1) Range 3-6 1-40 1-15 1-11 1-18
Nov-Apr(1) (SD) (2.1) (6.7) (1.9) (2.0) (2.2)
N 2 120 116 125 124
Total 13 1046 406
Mean 3.3 7.7 3.0 2.2 6.5
USVI 194 6 192 169 98 78 179 Range 1-6 1-40 1-15 1-11 1-60
(SD) (2.1) (6.6) (1.9) (1.8) (4.6)
N 4 136 117 189 188
'The totals are total numbers of gear reported. The totals are an underestimate because 1) not all fisher were interviewed in St. Thomas/St. John District and 2)
because some of fishers did not provide numbers of gear or did not break down the numbers of gear into R&R and HL.
2One fisher reported fishing 60 hrs when anchor fishing. This data was omitted.
3SD = Standard Deviation
4N = Number of fishers responding.






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fisher Census


Table 42 ((1. 24):


Sulmmary of drift fishing Penr information from resnondents (R&.R Rod &ReeRl HI.~


Hand line)


# of fishers fishing in
# of fishers territorial (<3 mi) or Season used# gears
Season used
using gear federal (>3 mi) waters or owned/fisher # of
Location s both (< and > 3 mi) lines/ ks fis
Fishers hooks fished
Use boat
R&R HL <3 Use > 3 Both Other R&R HL
round
miles miles
StTotal 14 37 53
Mean 7 6.7 1.8 10.4
Thomas/
tom 29 2 28 19 21 9 25 0 Range 1-20 1-4 4-84
St. John SD2 1-13 1 1. 15
DistricSD2) (7.0) (1.0) (15.0)
District 3
N 2 7 1 29 27
Late Total 16 429 174
Winter Mean 3.2 8.9 3 2.8 6.0
(1) Range 1-6 1-40 1-15 1-20 0.5-18
Sept- (SD) (2.2) (8.0) (2.4) (3.8) (3.0)
St. Croix Oct(1)
St.roix 62 4 60 45 44 28 57 ct (1
District Sept-
Nov
(1) N 5 48 60 61 60
Sept-
Jan (1)
Total 30 466 227
Mean 4.3 8.6 3 2.5 7.4
See
USVI 91 6 88 64 65 37 82 above Range 1-13 1-40 1-15 1-20 0.5-84
(SD) (4.3) (7.9) (2.4) (3.2) (8.9)
N 7 54 61 90 87
1The totals are total numbers of gear reported. The totals are an underestimate because 1) not all fisher were interviewed in St. Thomas/St. John District and 2)
because some of fishers did not provide numbers of gear or did not break down the numbers of gear into R&R and HL.
2SD = Standard Deviation
3 N = Number of fishers responding






US Virgin Islands Commercial Fi,


Table 43 Q. 24): Summary of skin diving gear information from respondents.
# of fishers fishing in
# of fishers skin diving with territorial (<3 mi) or Season fished
various types of gear federal (>3 mi) waters (# of fishers)
# or both (< and > 3 mi)
Location Fishers
By Use Other
W Other
hand Z <3 Use>3
miles miles
St. Winter
Thomas/ (1)
homs 15 10 1 5 1 2 14 2 2 10 Conch
St. John Season
. Season
District (1)
(1)
Conch
Season
(3)
St. Croix Outside
strit 40 37 2 36 6 33 40 3 3 33 Dolphin
District
season (1)
Calm
weather
(1)


USVI 55 47 3 41 7 35 54 5 5 43


1Only 14 of 15 skin diving fishers in St. Thomas/St. John District responded to this question
2The totals are the total numbers of gear reported. The totals are an underestimate because 1) not all fisher were intel
2) because some of fishers responded yes or no to the question.
3SD = Standard Deviation
4 N = Number of fishers responding



39







US Virgin Islands Commercial Fi,


Table 44 (Q. 24): Summary of scuba diving gear information from respondents.
# of fishers fishing in
# of fishers skin diving with territorial (<3 mi) or federal Season used
various types of gear (>3 mi) waters or both (< (# of fishers)
# _and > 3 mi)1
Location Fishers -
By s Use Use > 3 4g
hand Z a ( <3 miles miles

Total2
Mean
Thomas/ Mean
StJohn 11 4 0 7 1 4 10 5 5 9 Range
St. John 3
District N4
N4
Total
Jack
Mean
St. Croix Season
Di t 83 52 17 76 3 71 80 41 39 80 (1) Range
District (1)
(SD)
N
Total
Mean
USVI 94 56 17 83 4 75 90 46 44 90
Range
N
'Only 9 of 11 skin diving fishers in STT/STJ District responded to this question
2The totals are the total numbers of gear reported. The totals are an underestimate because 1) not all fisher were inter
some of fishers responded yes or no to the question.
3SD = Standard Deviation
4 N = Number of fishers responding












40











Question 25: How often do you fish?


Fishers in STX District fished an average of 3.3 trips per week (Table 45, Fig. 5) compared with
an average of only 2.6 trips per week for STT/STJ District fishers.

Question 26: How long are your commercial fishing trips? hours/trip.

Trip duration was on average 1.5 hours longer in STT/STJ District than in STX District (Table
44) while the number of trips per week was higher in STX District than in STT/STJ District
(Table 44, Fig. 5). In other words, STT/STJ District fishers went on fewer but longer trips than
STX District fishers.

Table 45 (Q. 25 & 26): The average number of fishing trips by fishers per week and the average
duration of fishing trips in the US Virgin Islands.
St. Thomas/St. John
st. St. Croix District USVI
District
Trip Trip Trip
Trips per duration Trips per duration Trips per duration
week (hrs) week (hrs) week (hrs)
Mean 2.6 8.3 3.3 6.7 3.1 7.2
Range 0.2 7 2-60 0.25 -7 1-13 0.2 7 1-60
Standard
Deviation 1.2 6.4 1.6 2.4 1.5 4.2
Number of
responses 106 103 211 211 317 314


Figure 5 (Q. 31): Number of trips per week for STT/STJ (N = 106)
commercial fishers.


1 2 3 4 5
No. of Trips per Week


and STX (N = 211) District


6 7


CLI z XI T .. Ir..:r







-1 I r-


trips per week.






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Fishing in the USVI was generally a day operation with approximately eighty percent (80%) of
fishing trips in the USVI less than 9 hours (Fig. 6). Only two fishers reported going out on
overnight trips. Both these fishers were from STT/STJ District (Table 45).

Figure 6 (Q. 26): Cumulative distribution of the hours per fishing trip for the US Virgin Islands.

Cumulative Distribution


1 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 43 46 40 52 55 58
HOURS
313 cases plotted 41 missing cases 1 cases outside scale


Question 27: How many people commercially fish with you? [ ] fish alone
[ ] with helpers [ ] with other commercial fishers.

Fishers in both districts usually went out with one helper and occasionally with a second helper
(Tables 46 & 47). This is especially true in STX District where 89% of fishers fished with at
least one helper (Table 46). In STT/STJ District approximately twice as many fishers fished
alone (17%) or with other commercial fishers (29.2%) compared with STX (7.1% and 10.4%,
respectively).

Table 46 (Q. 27): Number of fishers fishing alone, with helpers, or with other commercial
fishers.
St. Thomas/St. John St. Croix District USVI
District
# of commercial # of # of # of
Percent Percent Percent
fishers who: Fishers Fishers Fishers
Fish alone 18 17.0% 15 7.1% 33 10.4%
Fish with helpers 63 59.4% 188 89.0% 251 79.1%
Fish with other
commercial
fishers 31 29.2% 22 10.4% 53 16.7%
Number of
respondents* 106 105.60% 211 106.50% 317 106.20%
*Some fishers indicated that they fished in more than one way, e.g. at different times they might fish alone or with
helpers, or with commercial fishers. Therefore, the total percentage is greater than 100%.






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


District C. .. vW.- -L. I v. M.L
# of #of
# of # #
# helpers/ commercial helpers commercial commercial
commercial helpers/ helpers/
fisher fishers/ fishers/
fishers/fisher fisher fifisher f
fisher fisher
Mean 1.3 1.2 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.3
Range 1-4 1-2 1-12 1-3 1-12 1-3
Standard
Deviation 0.6 0.4 1.2 0.6 1.1 0.5
Number of
responses 63 31 188 22 53 251


Question 28: How many hours per week do you spend on: (a) fixing your boat hrs/week
(b) repairing fishing gear/preparations hrs/week (c) fish sales hrs/week.

Fishers in the USVI spent a considerable amount of time carrying out non-fishing, trade related
activities during the week. On both islands, fishers spent nearly a day a week selling their fish
(Table 48). STT/STJ District fishers spent about 1.5 hrs more a week selling their fish than STX
District fishers. Both fishing groups spent about 3 hours a week fixing their boats and a half day
a week fixing their gear (Table 48). The high standard deviations (in excess of the mean)
indicated that there is considerable variation among fishers in the amount of time spent in these
activities.


Table 48 (0. 28): The hours ner week commercial fishers in the IJS Virgin Islands snent on







USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Table 49 (Q. 29): Names of landing sites used by St. John commercial fishers and the
percentage of fishers responding who used each of the landing sites
St. John landing sites Number of fishers using site Percent of fishers using site
Cruz Bay 5 45.5%
Coral Bay 4 36.4%
STJ 1 9.1%
Hansen Bay 1 9.1%
Trailered 1 9.1%
Number of respondents 11 109.20%
Total # of responses 12



St. Thomas fishers reported that they landed their fish at 19 different sites on the north, south
and east end of the island, two sites on STJ and one site on STX (Table 50). One STT fisher
trailered his boat. The three most common landing sites, Frenchtown, Hull Bay and Benner Bay
(including Sea Side Inn, located in Benner Bay) were used by 64.9% of fishers. Only five STT
fishers indicated that they landed their fish at more than one location.



Table 50 (Q. 29): Names of landing sites used by St. Thomas commercial fishers and the
percentage of fishers responding who used each of the landing sites.
St. Thomas Landing sites Number of fishers using site Percent of fishers using site
Frenchtown 31 33.0%
Hull Bay 15 16.0%
Benner Bay 8 8.5%
Seaside Inn, Benner Bay 7 7.4%
Water Bay 8 8.5%
Krum Bay 6 6.4%
Mandahl Pond 3 3.2%
Red Hook 3 3.2%
Coast Guard Dock 2 2.1%
Brewers Bay 2 2.1%
East Gregorie Channel 2 1.1%
Trailered 1 2.1%
Sapphire 1 1.1%
AYH 1 1.1%
Tropical Marine 1 1.1%
Fish Hawk Marina 1 1.1%
Piccola Marina Dock 1 1.1%
Coki Point 1 1.1%
Magens Bay 1 1.1%
Crown Bay Marina 1 1.1%
Cruz Bay, St. John 1 1.1%
Kill Bay, St. John 1 1.1%
Cuelebra, Puerto Rico 1 1.1%
Total # of respondents 94 105.70%
Total # of responses 99






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


St. Croix fishers reported landing their fish at 18 different sites on STX and one STX fisher
reported landing fish on STJ (Table 50). The most important landing sites on STX were: Altona
Lagoon in Christiansted, Molasses Pier and Frederiksted Fish Market. About a third of STX
fishers landed their catches at each of these sites.). Sixty nine STX fishers (34.5%) landed their
fish at more than one site (Table 52).

Table 51 (Q. 29): Names of landing sites used by St. Croix commercial fishers and the
percentage of fishers responding who used each of the landing sites.
St. Croix Landing sites Number of fishers using site Percent of fishers using site
Altona Lagoon 75 37.5%
Molasses Pier 71 35.5%
Frederiksted Fisherman's 62
62 31.0%
Pier
Gallows Bay 17 8.5%
Castle Nugent 11 5.5%
Salt River Bay 11 5.5%
Christiansted 9 4.5%
Teague Bay 6 3.0%
Green Cay Marina 4 2.0%
Solitude 4 2.0%
Turner Hole 3 1.5%
Duggans Reef 2 1.0%
(fl--n A, ) 1 CIO/







USVI Commercial Fisher Census


ow do you market your fish? [ ] whole [ ] gutted [ ] iced [ ] fi
Ad (gutted & scaled) [ ] other (specify):


(this is fish that is presented to customers in coolers tilled with ice) (Figs. 7 and 8). The
STT/STJ District fishers primarily marketed their fish whole, gutted, or scaled (Fig. 7). In STX
District fishers marketed their fish in a similar manner, primarily whole, cleaned (scaled and
gutted), or gutted (Fig. 8). A similar proportion of fishers in both districts iced their fish: 22% in
STT/STJ District (Fig. 7) and 28% in STX District (Fig. 8). Under "other" one fisher in
STT/STJ District indicated that he sold a portion of his catch salted. In STX District fishers
indicated under "other" that they sold conch cleaned (meaning out of shell and gutted) and
lobster whole. Some fishers also stated that they sold their fish gilled, gutted and/or steaked.
One fisher stated he left the gills on the fish to show freshness and five fishers said they did not
sell their fish, two expressly stating that they only caught fish for personal use.



Figure 7 (Q. 30): Percentage of fishers marketing their fish in various ways for St. Thomas/St.
John District, US Virgin Islands.





How were the fish marketed?

Cleaned Other
6% 1%

Scaled





Filleted
8%






Iced
22% Gutted
17%

Number of fishers responding = 88







USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Figure 8 (Q. 30): Percentage of fishers marketing their fish in various ways in St. Croix District,
US Virgin Islands.




How were the fish marketed?


Cle Ie--j
1:


Scaled
2%
Filleted
2%


Nhole
39%


Gutted
9%
Number of fishers responding = 206





Questions 31: Where do you sell your fish? [ ] fishing association [ ] private fish company
[ ] buyer [ ] at home [ ] restaurant [ ] landing site [ ] along the road [ ] retail market
[ ] other (specify):



Most fishers in both STT/STJ District and STX District (Figs. 10 & 11) sold their fish at the site
where they landed their fish. In STT/STJ District, of the fishers who specified "other", 62% sold
their fish to special customers. Most of the remaining "other" locations (36%) were areas where
fish markets, both formal and informal, have been established (Fort Mylner, Coki Point,
Charlotte Amalie Waterfront, Smith Bay, the Ballpark, Market Square, Cruz Bay). One person
stated that they usually gave away the fish that they caught. A number of other sales locations
were listed by STX fishers. The most common "other" location on STX was the mid-island
Government Fish Market where 17.3% of fishers specified that they sold their fish (Table 53).







USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Fig. 10 (Q. 31): Percentage of St Thomas/St. John District fishers selling their catch to various
organizations or entities.





Buyer Home
2% 5%
Other

||---- | Restaurant
21 o1111|INiii | 20%

Retail
2%




Road
2200
Landing
28%




Total number of responses =213.


Fig. 11 (Q. 31): Percentage of St Croix District fishers selling their catch to various
organizations or entities.






Buyer
Other 11%





Retail Home
9% /20%

Road I:
1%




Landing Restaurant
24% 18%




Total number of responses = 417
.o/ ~ ~ ~ -----~ ---iiiil^
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ---- -- -iiiiiiiiiiiiii
\~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~ ----------------iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii





R eta il ---------------------------






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Table 53 (Q. 31): Sites specified by St. Croix District commercial fishers when describing
"other" sales locations. There were no multiple responses.
Percent of "other"
Locations fish sold N Percent of fishers
responses
Government Fish 4
Market40 59.7% 17.3%
Market
Private Customers 10 14.9% 4.7%
Wholesale 3 4.5% 1.3%
Hotel 1 1.5% <1%
Do not sell 8 11.9% 3.8%
Vendor 2 3.0% 1%
Supermarket 2 3.0% 1%
Coop 1 1.5% <1%
Total # of responses 67 100.00%


Question 32: Compared with 10 years ago is fishing better, same or worse.

Over half the STT/STJ District fishers who responded to this question felt the fishery was the
same as 10 years ago (Fig. 9), while two-thirds (141) of STX District fishers who responded to
this question felt fishing is worse today than 10 years ago (Table 54, Fig. 10). Two fishers in
STX District had more than one response to this question, indicating in one case that pelagic
fishing was the same but inshore fishing was worse owing to overfishing and in the other case
that fishing was better because more fish were being caught, but the fisher anticipated that
fishing would be worse in the near future because trap fishers had changed to using gill nets.


Table 54 (Q. 32): US Virgin Islands fishers' opinions on whether fishing is better, the same, or
worse than 10 years ago.
Fi r St. Thomas/St. John St. Croix District USVI
Fisher
District
Opinions *N % N % N %

Better 11 11% 4 1.9% 15 4.9%
Same 53 53% 63 30.3% 116 37.7%
Worse 36 36% 141 67.8% 177 57.4%
Total 100 100.00% 208 100.00% 308 100.00%
*N = number of fishers who responded to this question.







USVI Commercial Fisher Census


years ago.





Better
11%


Worse
36%








53%




Number of respondents = 100


Figure 10 (Q. 32): St. Croix District fisher responses comparing fishing today with 10 years ago.






Better
2%




Same




Worse,
61%








Number of respondents = 208






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Question 33: If you answered "worse" to the above question (Question 32), why is fishing worse?

St. Thomas/St. John District:

A break down of STT/STJ District fisher responses to this question is provided in Table 55. Of
the thirty six fishers who stated that fishing was worse, one third stated that this was because of
less fish and nearly 20% because of area closures (Table 55). Unlike STX District fishers,
STT/STJ District fishers did not report that net fishing contributed to declines in the fishery.

Table 55 (Q. 33): Reasons fishers gave for fishing being worse in St. Thomas/St. John District.
Percent of
Fisher Responses N* fishers**
Less fish 12 33.3%
Less baitfish available
Less fish
Catching less
Area closure 7 19.4%
Less fishing ground, have to go out further
National Park
Taking away best fishing grounds
Too many traps 5 13.9%
Overfishing 4 11.1%
Overfishing
Too much fishing pressure
Area overfished
Too many fishers 3 8.3%
Difficulty selling fish 3 8.3%
Sales down
Fewer sales
Pollution 3 8.3%
Pollution from development kills reef
Pollution in general
Hurricane damage to reefs 3 8.3%
Natural disasters
Weather
Fish trap theft and tampering 2 5.6%
Longliners 2 5.6%
Habitat Destruction 1 2.8%
More regulations 1 2.8%
BVI rules 1 2.8%
Larger mesh required on traps 1 2.8%
Higher fuel costs 1 2.8%
No. of respondents 36 136.10%
No. or responses 49
* N = number of respondents. Most respondents gave more than one reason.
** The number of responses in each category were divided by the number of fishers who indicated that fishing was
worse, therefore, the total adds up to more than 100%.






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


St. Croix District:

STX District fishers who thought fishing was worse today than 10 years ago provided twenty
reasons for the decline (Table 56). Over half (53.4%) stated that it was due to four factors: net
fishing, too many fishers, less fish and overfishing (Table 55).

Table 56 (Q. 33): Reasons fishers gave for fishing being worse in St. Croix District.
Percent of
Fisher Responses N* fishers**
Net fishers take too many fish 55 38.9%
Too many fishermen with nets, they dump (throw
away) the small fish
Too much new equipment like nets
Too many net fishers taking most of the fish
Over fishing by gill nets
Too many gill and trammel nets
Gill nets catching too many fish
Gill nets need to be regulated or eliminated
Over fishing due to gill nets
Haul seines remove too many fish, fish spoiled on
shore
Gill nets need to be monitored on a daily basis
Gill nets kill juvenile fish
Gill nets abusing fisheries
Gill nets doing a lot of damage
Divers with gill nets
Change in fishing methods (example: trap fishers
now use gillnets)
Larger jack nets have taken all the fish
Too many gill nets catch everything
Too many fishers 46 32.9%
Too many fishers, need closed season
Too many trap fishers
Too many divers and fishers now
Greater number of fishers
Too many fishers fishing out the fishery
More trap fishers
Fish are scarce because of too many fishermen
Less fish 37 25.9%
Same in deepwater but worse inshore
Less baitfish available
Decrease in lobsters and pelagic fish
Dredging of Altona Lagoon caused decrease
catch
Catch not as good but doesn't know why






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Pollution 15 10.5%
Pollution on south side of island
Poor water quality
Pollution in general
Hurricane damage to reefs 9 6.3%
Reefs aren't healthy no staghorn corals
Bottom of sea is different now
Reef destroyed by nature, not many caves now
Area closure 14 9.8%
Too much area closed
Buck Island closure
New regulations limiting our fishing
Longliners 7 4.9%
Longliners are hammering offshore stocks before
they get into USVI waters
Foreign longliners
Difficulty selling fish 6 4.2%
Can't sell fish, people don't want to buy, no
money
Too much competition from other fishers,
reduced prices to sell fish
Market selling different prices, too much
competition
Difficult to sell fish at market can take 2-3 days
to sell catch
More difficult to sell
Too many fishers, sales were better 10 years ago
Competition with other fishers or with foreign vessels 5 3.5%
Illegal fishing 5 3.5%
Fish trap theft and illegal hauling of traps 4 2.8%
Not enough FADs 3 2.1%
More gear being used today 2 1.4%
Reef unhealthy 1 0.7%
Not enough shelf area 1 0.7%
Net fishers on St. Martin 1 0.7%
Ghost traps 1 0.7%
Fuel costs 1 0.7%
More boat ramps needed 1 0.7%
Total number of respondents 141 161.40%
Total number of responses 229
*N = number of respondents. Most respondents gave more than one reason.
**The number of responses in each category was divided by the number of respondents who indicated that fishing
was worse, therefore, the total adds up to more than 100%.






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Question 34: What percentage of your income comes from commercial fishing?

In the USVI, an average of nearly 65% of commercial fishers' income was derived from fishing
(Table 57). A higher proportion of the income from commercial fishers in STT/STJ District was
derived from fishing (74%) than in STX District (64.5%). Approximately three quarters of
STT/STJ District fishers (Fig. 11) and one half of the STX District fishers (Fig. 12) relied on
fishing for more than half their income. Nearly twice as many licensed commercial fishers on
STX District derived less than a quarter of their income from fishing.

Table 57 (Q. 34): Percentage of US Virgin Islands commercial fisher income derived from
fishing.
St. Thomas/St. John
St. Croix District USVI
District
Mean 74.0% 60.2% 64.5%
Range 0-100% 0-100% 0-100%
Standard deviation 39.8 40.7 40.9
Number of responses 92 213 305


Figure 11 (Q. 34). Percentage of income from commercial fishing in St. Thomas/St. John
District (N=92).





Income <25%
18%

Income
25%-50%
7%






Income 50
75%






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Figure 12 (Q. 34). Percentage of income from commercial fishing in St. Croix District (N=213).


Income <25%
33%


Income >50
54%


Income
25%- 50%
13%






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


DISCUSSION

In 1930, the population of the USVI was 22,012 and fishing provided a livelihood to about 2% of
the population (Table 58) (Fiedler and Jarvis, 1932)(Table 58). In 1968, when the second major
survey of fishers throughout the USVI was conducted, the population of the USVI was 55,000
and had more than doubled, but the number of fishers remained nearly the same (Swingle et al.
1970). As a percentage of the total USVI population, the number of fishers declined nearly 60%
(Table 58) (Swingle et al. 1970). In this survey, the number of licensed commercial fishers again
remained stable despite a doubling of the USVI population, and, again, the number of fishers as a
percentage of the population declined 60% (Table 58).


Table: 58: Comparison of the number of commercial fishers in the US Virgin Islands between
1930 and 2004.
# and percent of commercial of Total # of % of
Survey Total # of
ur fishers who are full time (FT) or Commercial USVI population
year Commercial
part time (PT) Fishers Population commercially
FT % PT % fishing
19301 n/a n/a 405 22,012 1.8%
19682 120 30% 280 70% 400 55,000 0.73%
2003-43 215 67% 108 33% 383 108,6124 0.3%
'Fiedler and Jarvis, 1932
2Swingle et al., 1970
3This survey
42000 US Census www.census.gov/prod/cen2000/island/viprofile.pdf July 17, 2004.

Description of Commercial Fishers in the USVI

Ethnicity

In 1930, Fielder and Jarvis (1932) reported that 88% of fishers were "colored" and 22% were
white. In this study, while black and West Indian fishers made up the largest percentage of the
fisher population, 38.5% of fishers were Hispanic and 17% were French (Table 2). No Hispanic
fishers were reported in 1930 (Fielder and Jarvis 1932).

In STT/STJ District the commercial fishing industry was dominated by people of French descent
(55% of fishers both black and white) (Table 2). The French ethnic community has a long fishing
tradition on the island of STT that goes back to at least 1867 when descendants of French
colonists came to STT and established a French community in Honduras (now known as
Frenchtown) (Fielder and Jarvis 1932). A second primarily French fishing and farming
community was established on the northside of St. Thomas with fishing activities concentrated
nrnnrl TMi-ll RMv m(nwnc andl PPttPrcnn 1 QQ97 PPnnlp iclentifvino thpemerlvp, n hl-la k wprep thp






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Age

In 1968, the average US Virgin Islands' fisher was almost 45 years old and had been fishing for
19 years (Swingle et al. 1970). There was concern that commercial fishing was attracting fewer
of the younger generation because of the increase in better paying jobs in tourism and
government (Swingle et al. 1970). In 2003, the average age of commercial fishers was 50.5
years (Table 3), 5.5 years older than in 1968 (Swingle et al. 1970). The increasing age of
commercial fishers and their declining numbers as a percentage of the population (Table 58),
indicated that commercial fishing continued to attract fewer of the younger generation. The low
number of recent entrants into the USVI commercial fishery (<5 years) was, in part, a function of
the moratorium on the issuance of new commercial fishing licenses that had been in effect since
August 24, 2001. However, relatively few fishers stated that they started fishing even within the
last 10 years (Table 10).

Education

Over half of STX District fishers had completed only elementary school or junior high school
compared to 20% of STT/STJ District fishers (Table 4). The higher level of education reported
by STT/STJ fishers may be a function, at least in part, of the somewhat younger age of the
fishers in this district. There is no comparable information on the education level of fishers from
the two previous censuses (Fielder and Jarvis 1932 and Swingle et al. 1970).

Full-time/Part-time fishers

A commercial fishing permit is required in order for a fisher to sell fish and/or use such gear as
traps and nets (Title 12 of the VI Code). Also, licensed commercial fishers are exempt from a
number of fees such as mooring fees.

Since at least 1987, USVI fishers have disagreed among themselves regarding whether part-time
fishers should be allowed to be licensed as commercial fisher (USVI Government 1987). Part-
time fishers usually have other employment and only fish on weekends or when they have free
time. Part-time fishers also include those who obtain a commercial fishing license primarily to
avoid paying fees (Downs and Petterson, 1987) and/or to use gears that require a commercial
fishing permit such as traps and nets.

Over 66% of commercial fishers in the USVI consider themselves full time fishers (Table 5). In
STT/STJ District, 77.3% of fishers considered themselves full time compared with only 61% of
STX District fishers (Table 5).

Fishers can also be divided into full time and part time based on income. If full time fishers were
those that made more than 50% of their income fishing, then 54% of fishers in STX District (Fig.
15) and 75% of fishers in STT/STJ District (Fig. 14) were full time fishers.

Another way of dividing fishers into full time and part time is the amount of time spent in all
fishing related activities (Table 59) (Questions: 25, 26, 28). In the questionnaire, fishers were
asked if they were part-time fishers, working < 36 hrs per week on fishing related activities, or









full time fishers, working >36 hrs per week. Based on these criteria, 41.5% of USVI fishers
were full time fishers. If one considers part time as working <20 hrs per week and full time as
working >20 hrs per week on fishing related activities, then 68% ofUSVI commercial fishers
were full time fishers (Table 59).

Table 59: The number of hours fishers spent each week conducting all fishing related activities.
Hrs spent on St. Thomas/St. St. Croix District USVI
fishing related John District
activities each
week1 N2 % N % N %
< 20 hrs 41 35.0% 68 30.5% 109 32.1%
< 36 hrs 38 32.5% 52 23.3% 90 26.5%
> 36 hrs 38 32.5% 103 46.2% 141 41.5%
Total 117 100.0% 223 100.0% 340 100.0%
Calculated by multiplying the mean number of trips by the mean number of hours per fishing trip and adding the
amount of time fishers stated that they spent selling fish, constructing and repairing gear, and repairing the boat(s)
they used fishing.
2N = Number of fishers responding.

In a 1959 survey of St. John fishers (Idyll and Randall 1959), only 13% of the 83 fishers
identified as engaging in fishing were full-time fishers. In 1968, Swingle et al. (1970) estimated
that 30% of USVI fishers engaged in commercial fishing activities were full time fishers and
70% were part time. The criterion used to distinguish part-time and full-time fishers was not
included in either report. Using the three criteria described above, the number of full time fishers
in the USVI in 2003 ranged from 41.5% to 66%. Therefore, the percentage of full time
commercial fishers had increased since 1968. Although the number of commercial fishers
declined as a percentage of the population in 2003 compared to 1968, the number of full time
fishers (the amount of fishing effort) increased.


Number of years commercial fishers have fished and expect to fish

Licensed commercial fishers in the USVI fished an average of about 23 years, ranging from 0 to
67 years (Table 10). There was a distinct difference in the length of time fishers expected to fish
in STT/STJ District compared with STX District. Nearly three quarters (74%) of STT/STJ
District fishers expected to continue to fish for the rest of their lives while only 41% of STX
District fishers expected to do so (Table 11).


Description of the Fish Targeted and Fishing Gear by USVI Commercial Fishers

The commercial fisheries of STT/STJ District and STX District differed in the proportion of
fishers targeting the various categories of fish and in the number of fishers using various types of
gear. One of the reasons for this was the size and depth of the insular shelf surrounding each
district (Fig. 13). The area of the insular shelf is limited in both districts, but this is especially
true in STX District.


USVI Commercial Fisher Census






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Commercial fishing in the USVI was largely confined to the insular shelf (total area: 630 nm2)
and shelf edge with some fishers, especially in STX District, fishing pelagic stocks in deep
water. The shelf around the northern USVI (STT/STJ District) is approximately 8 miles wide to
the south of the islands and 20 miles wide to the north (Fig. 13). The depth of water over most of
the shelf is >60 feet with much of the shelf in water >100 feet deep. STX District lies
approximately 40 miles south of STT/STJ District and is separated from the northern Virgin
Islands by a deep trench. The shelf around STX is shallower (<60 feet deep) and considerably
smaller (120 nm2) than the shelf around the northern USVI (510nm2) (CFMC 2004). In fact,
81% of the shelf area in the USVI extends from the islands of St. Thomas and St. John. Most of
the STX shelf, except for Lang Bank to the east of STX, lies within the 3 nm territorial
jurisdiction. On the northwest side of STX, the shelf edge may be only 100 yards from shore.

Figure 13: Map of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (Source: Jacobsen and Browder,
1987) showing the extent of the insular shelves (<200m depth) of the Puerto Rico Bank (Puerto
Rico and the northern Virgin Islands, including St. Thomas and St. John District) and St. Croix
District.


Categories ofFish Targeted


In 2003, most commercial fishers targeted reef fish in the USVI (82%). However, in STX
District, fishing had diversified. STX District fishers targeted deepwater pelagic fish (33% of
fishers) and deepwater snapper (42%) (Table 7). The popularity of these two fish categories in
STX District may be in part a function of the smaller size of the STX shelf compared to STT/STJ
and the proximity of deepwater to the island.






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Fishers in both districts generally targeted more than one category offish with some fishers
targeting up to 8 categories (Table 8). Given the proximity of deepwater to STX, individual
fishers targeted more categories of fish in STX District than in STT/STJ District.


Boats and Engines

Table 60 summarizes boat ownership trends between 1930 and 2003. In 1930, less than half the
fishers in the USVI owned a boat (Fielder and Jarvis 1932). Most boats were made of wood and
were sailed (38) or were rowed (147). Only one boat was powered by a motor. In 1967 the
percentage of fishers owning vessels declined (Swingle et al. 1970). However, almost all boats
had engines: 72.9% of boats in STX District and 97.1% on STT/STJ District were powered by
gasoline engines and 21% and 7% respectively were powered by inboard engines (Swingle et al.
1970).

In 2003, wooden boats were uncommon. Most boats were constructed of fiberglass or fiberglass
and wood (93.4% of boats in the USVI) (Table 23). Also, most fishers owned or co-owned a
boat (Table 12). The number of boats (including dinghies) in the fishery was greater than the
number of fishers (Table 60), though 6.2% of fishers surveyed did not own a boat (Table 22).
Nearly every boat was powered by an engine (Table 61).

Table 60: Number of boats and percentage of boat ownership in the fishery based on the number
of boats divided by the number of fishers.
# of fishers interviewed # of boats and percentage of boat ownership
Survey year
Survey year STT STJ STX USVI STT % STJ % STX USVI %

19301 127 78 200 405 58 17% 41 52% 87 44% 186 50%
19672 60 72 153 285 36 60% 16 22% 37 24% 89 31%
2003-43 103 13 217 333 138 119%4 235 108% 373 112%
Fiedler and Jarvis 1932.
2Swingle et al. 1970. Only 69% of full time fishers and 25% of part time fishers were interviewed.
3This study.
4Percent is for STT/STJ District and is >100 because the some fishers interviewed had more than one boat.

Table 61: Percentage of boats with engines in the US
Virgin Islands in 1930, 1968, and 2003.
# of fishers % of boats with
Survey
Survey interviewed engines
year STT STJ STX STT STJ STX
19301 127 78 200 0% 0% 1.1%
19682 60 72 153' 100% 100% 100%
20033 103 13 217 100% 99%
1Fiedler and Jarvis, 1932
2Swingle et al. 1970. Only 69% of full time fishers and 25% of part time fishers were interviewed.
3This study.






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Boat length for the majority of fishers changed little between 1930 and 2003. In 1930 boat
length ranged from 15 to 20 feet (Fiedler and Jarvis 1932). In 1968, the average boat length
ranged from 14 to 20 feet (Swingle et al. 1970). However, in 1967 there was a fleet of large
vessels with inboard engines in STX District that ventured up to 100 miles to catch and sell
seafood (Swingle et al. 1970). As countries claimed jurisdiction of their Exclusive Economic
Zone (EEZ) (all waters 200 nm from their shoreline) in the 1970's and prohibited fishing in their
EEZ, this fleet of large vessels declined. In 2003 (this study), only 11 boats (4.4% of fleet) were
>30 feet in length (Table 16). Most commercial fishers in the USVI fished from boats 16 25
feet in length (72%) (Table 16). However, in contrast to 1968, boat size in both districts was not
significantly different, although a higher percentage of fishers in STT/STJ District (24.4%) had
larger boats (>26 feet) compared with STX District (8.6%).

Electronic Gear used on Boats

The most common electronic communication and safety device carried on board fishing vessels
in 2003 was the cell phone (60% of USVI fishers) (Table 24). Cell phones were more commonly
carried by fishers in STX District where fishing grounds were in closer proximity to land and,
therefore, cell phone antennae than in STT/STJ District (Table 24). In STT/STJ District, fishers
used marine radios on their boats (46%) almost as frequently as cell phones (53.2%). Fishers
that fished the shelf edge in STT/STJ District, especially to the north of the islands, were
frequently unable to get a cell phone signal or would pick up the British Virgin Islands cell
phone provider (L. Aubain and R. Gomez, pers. com.). Very few fishers in either district carried
an EPIRB (Table 24).






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


2003. Not only did fishers target a variety of fish species, they also targeted a wide range of
species and habitats requiring different types of gear. Following is a brief discussion of the
changes that have occurred in the USVI with respect to the importance of various gears and the
methods of construction.

Gear -Fish Traps

Fish traps (pots) have been the most widely used gear in the USVI since the 1930's (Fielder and
Jarvis 1932, Idyll and Randall, 1959, Swingle et al. 1970). Trap design has changed little but the
materials used to construct traps have changed. In the 1930's, arrowhead traps were common
(the following description is from Fiedler and Jarvis 1932). The traps were made from mats of
split withes (a vine) woven into a hexagonal mesh and braced with a framework of wood. Tyre
palm leaf was used to fasten together both the withes and frame. Some traps were made of
ordinary chicken wire with a wood frame. Mesh size ranged from 1 to 2 inches. Traps varied in
size, but the average trap measured 5 ft in length, 3 ft in width, and about 1.3 feet in height.
Because the frame was of wood they had to be weighted with rocks. The funnel entrance was at
the center of the base of the arrowhead. A single door was cut in the side to remove the catch.
Each trap was marked with a float or marker of light wood which was attached to the trap with a
line made of plaited vines.

Crucian fishers favored making their traps from 1/8 inch diameter marine cable, which fishers
obtained from discarded marine cable. These traps lasted about 18 months while the wooden
traps lasted only about 6 months (Fiedler and Jarvis 1932).

Table 62: Number of gears used by fishers in the US Virgin Islands in 1930, 1968, and 2003.
Number of Fishers # of Gears
Survey Vertical
survey Fishers Fish Lobster Beach Cast ertcal Hand Troll
year Total # Set 2 3
yer T l Sampled pots Pots seines nets e lines lines
Fishers lines
# %
19304 405 85% 1,600 0 40 113 25 204 68
19685 400 153 38.3% 838 425 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
20036 3837 339 88.5% 3,886 4,756 18 147 68 1922 118
1 Fiedler and Jarvis called these trawl lines but the description was the same as for vertical set lines in this study.
2 Number of hand lines used by anchor fishers.
3 Troll lines refer to a type of fishing. Troll fishers may use rods and reels or hand lines.
4Fiedler and Jarvis, 1932
5Swingle et al., 1970, Table 1, p. 115.
6This study.
Total number of licensed fishers during this study.

In 1968, traps were still the most widely used gear. Swingle et al. (1970) stated that "fishing
with pots in shallow water is still the principal method of harvesting food in the Virgin Islands."
Traps were still primarily constructed in the shape of an arrowhead (chevron) but new materials
were being used, especially the plastic coated or galvanized welded-mesh chicken wire.
Occasionally, the frame was made of reinforced steel instead of wood and a zinc anode added to
prevent electrolysis. Mesh size ranged from 34" to 2". A single door was constructed to remove
the catch. Traps were still individually buoyed. The hardwire traps previously made were very






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


rare (Swingle et al. 1970). The importance of traps to the commercial fishers of the USVI
persisted until at least 1981, when Olsen and LaPlace (1981) stated that "over 80% of Virgin
Islands fishermen use only traps."

In 2003 (this study), while traps were still an important fishing gear (Table 62), they were less
important in STX District than in STT/STJ District (Tables 33, 34 & 35). Trap design was much
more diverse than in 1967. The traditional arrowhead traps were still popular but many fishers
now commonly built square or rectangular traps and sometimes Z or S shaped traps. Most traps
were built of reinforced steel and covered with plastic or galvanized mesh, though some fishers,
especially on STX still used wood to construct the trap frame. According to Title 12, VIRR, the
minimum mesh size was 1.5" hexagonal on STX and 2" square on STT/STJ District. Traps were
required to have two escape panels in federal waters, but only one escape panel in territorial
waters. Many traps were built to meet federal requirements, especially in STT/STJ District where
trap fishing on the shelf outside the 3 nm territorial limit was common. While individual traps
were buoyed in STX District, STT/STJ fishers usually set their traps in a "string" with only one
or no buoy (Downes and Petterson 1997; D. Greaux pers. com.). The traps were connected by
floating line and triangulation or, more commonly in 2003, GPS was used to relocate the traps
(Table 24). By setting the traps blind, the fishers minimized trap loss due to entanglement with
vessel propellers, especially the propellers of large freighters and cruise ships that plied the
waters around the USVI in large numbers (D. Berry, pers com.). It also made trap theft more
difficult (D. Greaux and C. Berry, pers. com.).

In 1930, 85% of fishers were interviewed (Fiedler and Jarvis, 1932) compared to only 38.3 % of
fishers in 1968 (Swingle et a., 1970). In 2003, 83% of fish and lobster trap fishers in STT/STJ
District and 82.6% of fishers in STX District were interviewed. Assuming that fishers were
randomly interviewed in the 1930, 1968, and 2003 surveys, an expanded estimate of the total
numbers of traps in the fishery can be calculated based on the percentage of fishers interviewed
(Table 63).

Table 63: Number offish and lobster pots used in the US Virgin Islands fishery
Year of % of fishers of traps # of traps
Year of % of fishers 1
Location reported in USVI reported in Expanded data1
survey interviewed .
districts USVI
19302 USVI 85% 1600 1,882
19683 USVI 38.3% 838 3,296
2002/034 USVI n/a 8,815 n/a
STT/STJ 83.0% 6 7,407 8,924
20035 STX 82.6% 7 1,235 1,495
USVI 8,642 10,409
1Expanded data were calculated by dividing the number of traps reported by the percentage of fishers interviewed.
2Fiedler and Jarvis 1932. Single et al. 1970.
4USVI catch report data from the FY2002-03 fishing year.
5This study
6Percentage based on 54 fishers reporting that they fished traps in the 2002-03 catch reports and only 44 respondents
reporting owning traps in this study.
7Percentage based on 69 fishers stating that they owned traps but only 57 fishers reporting on the number they
owned.






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


)ts or traps in use increased from approximately 1,882 in 193(
>^+,^^^,- Q ",-


nnrl 1 OA qnrl r


nets were still used to catch sea turtles. After 1987, nets had become a common component of
the USVI fishery (USVI Government 1987). In 2003, nets in STT/STJ District were not
commonly owned by fishers (Tables 26 30 & 32), except for cast nets (Table 31). Trammel net
and gill net ownership in STX District (Tables 29 & 30) was higher than STT/STJ District. The
number of gill and trammel nets in use in STX District, combined with their effectiveness in
catching fish, especially when used in conjunction with snorkelers or scuba divers, was causing
concern amonn STX fishers (Table 56).


In 1930, Fiedler and Jarvis (1932) recorded
were tied about 2 feet apart. From Fielder a


ial fishery, especially in STX District (Tal
rnd, lobster with a snare or by hand, to spe
dlp 44 and W Tnhiac nprc rnm I ~reihn


y years. A nur






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


,orgonians when 1
-ict using a PVC I


59). A typical commercial fisher in the US\
Fables 45 & 46) for about 7 hours each time
k selling fish, 3.2 hrs per week fixing his
).


result, a substantial portion (35%) of fishers
(Table 52).


ole (Figs. 8 and 9) without icing it.
and a third in STX District sold their fish
rs used ice (Figs, 8 and 9).






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


In 1987, the Virgin Islands Department of I
Wildlife held a conference entitled "Fisheri
conference was held to address the decline


LI1SL1ICL WCIC LIIlL tcly CLaugIIL iSS IIS[I, aIeC
many traps and over fishing was occurring (
felt that area closures were making fishing i
Monument closed a substantial area of the s
(Executive Proclamation, 2001) which coml
Marine Conservation District Closure and tl


and Natural Resources, Division of Fish and
sis" (USVI Government, 1987). The
SVI fisheries. The result of the conference
t measures.

vas "better", the "same" or "worse" than 10
ded that fishing was the same with only 36%
'X District, 68% of fishers responded that
Sin STX District had been noted since 1967
*ies had suffered from the dredging
1 -"-l 1 -- __ C. -I- A- 1 - 1-*,I ~'-l- l7


mes and Cas Cay/Mangrove Lagoon Marine
le 12 VTRR) ( decrihed in DPNR 2)004 aqnd






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


i (Table 7), they still harvested fish in small
Fables 33 35). However, while traps wern
o use a wide range of other gears to catch re
nd grouper (Table 38), coastal and oceanic
er (Tables 43 and 44). This diversification
where reef fish stocks have declined and
:e did (W. Tobias, pers. com.). Fishers also
umber of traps deployed and installed
deepwater vertical set lines (Table 25).


the tourist season and Ibought extensive 111
the tourist season and bought extensive


concerns arose, including the concern thai
ig grounds. This concern was compound


is essential for assessing and managing this f
will be useful for fishery managers, fishers, 1
park managers who are responsible for devel
ensure sustainable fisheries, reduce conflicts






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I gratefully acknowledge the staff at the Division of Fish and Wildlife for their extensive
contribution to this census. Dr. Roger Uwate developed the questionnaire and helped establish
the protocols for carrying out the census. He also reviewed the report at various stages in its
development and made many helpful suggestions. Hector Rivera, William Tobias, Dr. Wesley
Toller, and William Ventura made a concerted effort to interview all the licensed commercial
fishers in St. Croix District and David Camoyan and other staff took digital photos of fishing
gear and boats used in the commercial fishery on St. Croix. Ruth Gomez and Donna Jackson
conducted interviews in St. Thomas/St. John District. Ms. Gomez with the assistance of a
number of fishers and Larry Aubain provided descriptions of some of the fishing gear used on St.
Thomas/St. John. R. Gomez took digital photos of a wide variety of boats and gear in the St.
Thomas/St. John District. William Tobias kindly provided information when needed on the St.
Croix questionnaires, reviewed parts of this report, and provided information on St. Croix fishing
gear. Donna Griffin kindly scanned some USVI maps.

I also would like to thank Graciela Garcia Moliner of the CFMC for reviewing the questionnaire
and providing helpful suggestions and to Dr. Norman Quinn for his review of sections of this
report. Of course, this census could not have been accomplished without the cooperation of the
many fishers in the USVI who took time to answer the questions posed to them by the
interviewers. I wish to express my appreciation for their assistance.

The need for information gathered in this census was described in a report by Jim Waters at the
100th CFMC meeting in March 2000. NOAA/NMFS provided the funding through the Caribbean
Fishery Management Council. I would also like to thank Miguel Rolon, Executive Director of
the Council, for ensuring the implementation of this project and providing the funding.






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


RE

Anonymous. 1961. Report of Meeting(
Secretariat, Caribbean Organizatii

CFMC. 2004. Draft Amendment to the
to Address Required Provisions o
Management Act: Amendment 21
the U.S. Virgin Islands, Amendmi
Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin I;
Associated Invertebrates of Puert<
Management Council, San Juan, I

DPNR. 2004. United States Virgin Islai
Booklet. Department of Planning
and Environmental Enforcement.

Downs, M.A. and J.S. Peterson. 1997. 1
Conservation District St. John, Ur

Jacobsen, T. and J. Browder. 1987. Th,
Virgin Islands Insular Shelf: I. Lil

Holt, M. and R. Uwate. (2004). Estimal
US Virgin Islands 1974/75 to 200







)mmercial Fisher Census


1 and Wildlife, St. Thomas, USVI.










iendix

MERCI


low many mon

(S) AND EQU
low many fishi


I


FISH


nmercial fisher? [ ]no []yes, I
hing organization? [ ]no [ ]yes, o
cially fish for? [ ]reef fish [ ]coast
[ ]whelk [ deepwaterr pelagic [
ished?
s do you expect to keep fishing?


u own for commercial fishing?
_boat 1







USVI Commercial Fisher Census


24. FISHING GEAR THAT YOU USE IN COMMERCIAL FISHING
Seine/Nets/Pots bar mesh composition length high width shape qty use<3 use>3 miles season hours hours
(inch) (material) (ft) (ft) (ft) owned miles used soaked fished
Beach seine
Haul Seine
Gillnet
Trammel net
Cast net
Umbrella (lift)
net
Plastic lobster
pots
Modified pot
for Lobster
Fish pots
length hooks qty own use<3 use>3 season hours
Hook & Line (ft) /line miles miles used fished
Surface longline
Bottom longline
Vertical setline (multi-hook deepwater snapper/grouper)
Vertical setline (single hook for pelagics)
Trolling Handline? Rod & reel?
Drift fishing Handline? Rod & Reel?
Anchor fishing Handline? Rod & Reel?
with net? Snare gaff speargun # tanks use<3 miles use>3 season
Submarine Fishery # owned # # owned owned miles
owned
Skin (free) diving
Hookah diving
SCUBA diving
Other (please specify):


25. How often do you fish? trips per week
26. How long are your commercial fishing trips? hours/trip

27. How many people commercially fish with you? [ ]fish alone []With helpers []With
commercial fishers
28. How many hours per week do you spend on: (a) fixing your boat hrs/week
(b) repairing fishing gear/preparations hrs/week (c) fish sales hrs/week


other


29. Where do you land your fish?
30. How do you market your fish? [ ]whole []gutted []iced []filleted [] scaled
[ ]cleaned (gutted & scaled) [ ]other (specify):
31. Where do you sell your fish? [ ]fishing association [ ]private fish company [ ]buyer [ ]at home [ ]restaurant
[ ]at landing site [ ]along the road [ ]retail market []other (specify):
32. Compared with 10 years ago, is fishing ... [ ]better []same [ ]worse
33. If you answered "worse" to the above question, why is fishing worse?


34. What percentage of your income comes from commercial fishing?
For Office Use Only
Interview (circle one): no contact refusal partial complete
For no contact, specify date, time, and method of 3 attempts:
For refusal or partial interviews, why?
Interviewer Name and Initial: Date:


percent


Time:






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Appendix II

Fishing gears of the US Virgin Islands

The following descriptions of fishing gears (e.g., nets, lines, pots, and fishing gear used while
skin or SCUBA diving) are available for the Virgin Islands. Information provided here is based
on Matos Caraballo and Torres Rosado (1989) as well as informal information collected in this
survey by Division of Fish and Wildlife staff from local commercial fishers. Many fishers in the
USVI, particularly on St. Croix, originated from Puerto Rico. Therefore some of the Spanish
names provided by Matos Caraballo and Torres Rosado (1989) are included here.


1.Nets

a. Beach seine (in Spanish, chinchorro, chinchorro de arrastre or chinchorro de buche): net made
of mesh webbing and consisting of two wings and a bunt, or bag. The net is suspended from
floats and has weights on the bottom. The mesh is usually all the same size. The actual size of
the mesh depends on the species of fish targeted. Note both this net (beach seine) and the long
haul seine (below) are typically made by sewing two or more pieces of net of various depths
together. The net is set in water no deeper than the height of the net. Generally, a powered motor
boat or rowboat is used to set the net and it is hauled to shore by a group of 2 4 people, though
many more may be needed and may be recruited from the beach. Depending on the length of the
net and the bottom topography, several individuals with snorkeling gear may be used to free the
net from bottom obstructions. To reduce bycatch mortality, Title 12 of the VIRR prohibits beach
seines from being removed from the water while they still contain fish. The fish must be
harvested or released while the net is still in the water. If there are many fish in the net and the
fishers do not want to go with all the fish at one time, the fishers may "tuck the net" after hauling
it to shore. This entails drawing the net to shore in the middle and gathering the fish from only
one half of the net, leaving the other half of the catch in the water to be brought ashore later in
the day. This is a means of preserving a large catch until the fisher can transport the fish to
market. Each person handling the net receives a portion of the net.

b. Haul seine (chinchorro balajucero): is a modification of a beach seine in which long (rather
than short as in the beach seine) haul warps are used. This has the advantage of allowing the net
to be set further from shore and is usually used in shallow areas offshore where the bottom of the
net maintains contact with the substrate. The depth of this net is shallower on one or both ends.
When deployed offshore, fishers "round the net" (close up the net) to catch schools of fish. These
nets are up to 1000 feet in length and 38 feet in height. They are usually longer and higher than
the ballyhoo haul seines used by St. Thomas/St. John District fishers (Table 26). Also many
more people are used to haul this type of net and usually one or more individuals with snorkeling
gear are used to free the net around bottom obstructions.

In the St. Croix District, haul seines (referred to as jack nets) are used to harvest schools of
bigeye scad (Selar crumenophthalmus) in water from 35 to 100 feet deep and up to 1000 feet
long. The nets extend from the surface to the bottom and are used to surround an entire school of
jacks which typically hover near the bottom. The nets are set and pursed offshore with scuba






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


divers using scuba gear. Several thousand pounds of jacks may be caught at one time on St.
Croix requiring several boats to unload the catch and more than one day to unload the boat.
Significant spoilage of the catch may occur. In St. Thomas/St. John District haul seines are
primarily used to catch yellowtail snapper, bar jack, and blue runner.

c. Gill net (trasmallo filete, chinchorro de ahorque or chinchorro de vela) (Appendix III, photos
6 & 7): a net in which fish become entangled by their gill covers. Gill nets may be suspended
from buoys or left to drift at the surface, in midwater, or anchored to the bottom. The range of
the mesh size is 0.5-6.0 inches in Puerto Rico. In the USVI the mesh size range is smaller, 1.25
to 3 inches. Gill nets can be used to harvest baitfish at the surface, mid-water inshore pelagic
fishes and bottom fishes.

Depending on water depth, gill nets in St. Croix may be set with aid of divers with scuba gear.
In St. Croix District, bottom gill nets may be used in combination with trammel nets to catch
schools of herbivorous parrotfish and acanthurids. Bottom gill nets are typically set in the late
afternoon to block the daily migration routes of fishes as they travel from inshore feeding sites to
offshore resting areas. Divers piece sections of net together underwater and toe the lead line
under or around bottom features to prevent the net from being lifted off the bottom as the fish
become ensnared. Fish may also be chased into the net by divers. Entire schools of fish may be
caught using this method. While fishing the net must be constantly monitored to reduce bycatch
of unwanted fish species and sea turtles.

d. Trammel net (mallorquin, chinchorro de fondo, or tres paZos): this net has three curtains of
netting which are suspended from a common cork line and attached to a single bottom or lead
line. The two outside curtains or panels are of a larger mesh size than that of the inside panel.
The inside net has a greater length and hangs loosely between the two outer panels. It is
generally used anchored to the bottom. This type of net is primarily used on St. Croix.

In St. Croix District, trammel nets are used as a bottom net to catch primarily schooling
parrotfish species. The techniques to set and fish the nets are the same as previously discussed
for bottom gill nets. Fish are typically not gilled in trammel nets. The fish swim through the
outer larger mesh, hit the inner smaller mesh and push the smaller mesh through the opposite
wall of larger mesh to form a bag in which they are trapped. As with bottom gill nets for
parrotfish, the nets are set in the afternoon and hauled after dark. The catch is left in the net
when it is hauled aboard the boat and is not removed until after the fisher trailers his vessel
home, where the net is picked and the catch is iced in coolers.

e. Cast net (atarraya, tarraya, sardinera when used for sardines, jareera when used for ballyhoo)
(Appendix III, photos 1 & 3 5): The names are applied according to the size of mesh which, in
turn, depend on the species and/or size of the fish to be caught. For example, sprat cast nets have
larger mesh (1/4" mesh) than fry (Jenkensia spp.) cast nets (1/8" mesh). This is a throw net used
to catch small fish for bait and is circular, or cone-shaped, in appearance. The diameter, or
spread, is twice the total length of the net. In Puerto Rico, commercial fishermen measure the
length of the cast net using the greatest width of the distance of a spread hand (from the tip of the
thumb to the tip of the little finger) calling these units "cuartas" (approximately 8 to 9 inches).
In St. Thomas/St. John the net is measured according to its size when the net is opened.






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


f. Umbrella net: This is a type of lift net where fish are attracted by light or bait and are captured
in nets consisting of a horizontal netting or bag shaped like a paralleleped, pyramid or cone with
the opening facing upwards. After being submerged, the nets are lifted or hauled out of the
water, by hand or mechanically, from the shore or from a boat. The fish are retained in the net
when the water runs away (description from Nedelec, 1982). In St. Croix District, this method is
typically used to catch mackerel scad (Decapterus macarellus) and round scad (D. punctatus)
commonly referred to as round robin.

g. Ballyhoo net: This is a special type of haul seine or floating gill net that averages about 400
feet in length and 13 feet in height. Ballyhoo nets have a mesh size of about 0.5 inch bar mesh.

2. Lines

a. Hand lines: This is the most commonly used gear when anchor or drift fishing. It consists of a
concave plastic spool about 6" to 9" in diameter around which monofilament line is coiled. The
strength of the monofilament line varies with the fish species being targeted. On average fishers
use 2 or 3 hooks per line. The line is weighted with lead. The amount of lead varies depending
on the current and on whether the fisher is drift fishing at the surface or bottom fishing.

b. Rod and reel: This gear is much less commonly used by commercial fishers in the US Virgin
Islands. It is used most frequently by commercial fishers trolling for pelagic fish such as tuna,
king mackerel, wahoo and dolphin, especially fishers who charter their vessels or who work as
captains of charter vessels. It is sometimes used by fishers when they drift or anchor fish.

c. Surface longline: consists of a main line usually 1000 to 1,500 feet in length, buoyed at both
ends, to which "snoods" (FAO, 1982), also known as branch lines (short lines usually with
single hook or multiple hooks) are attached at various intervals. A fisher may drop up to 10
long lines. Once all 10 lines are deployed, the lines are picked up starting with the first deployed
in a continuous cycle. This type of fishing is not used in St. Croix District. Much longer surface
long lines up to 40 miles in length with 400 hooks are used to harvest swordfish and tunas. None
of the fishers interviewed currently actively use this type of surface longline though at one fisher
in St. Croix District reported owning this type of gear.

d. Bottom longline: Bottom long lines are similar to surface long lines in construction but they
are weighted at both ends using large lead balls or weights and are fished various distances above
the bottom. A surface buoy is attached to one end of the long line to keep track of its position
and to haul the line. They are typically used for fishing for deepwater snapper and grouper.

e. Vertical setline multihook: This gear is usually used to catch deepwater snapper/grouper in
the USVI. It consists of a line that varies between 600 to 1,500 feet in length depending on the
species fished. Each line is weighted with lead and has 25-30 hooks usually baited with squid.
Circle hooks are commonly used to minimize the hooks catching on the bottom. Circle hooks are
also used because the angler does not set the hook the fish swallows the bait and the circle
hooks are worked into the corner of the mouth by the pull of the fish on the line. The fish sets
the hook as opposed to the fisher.














n the line owing to the water depth. Short sel
I loss of catch by sharks (Olsen, et al., 1974)
til fish are located. Once fish are located, thi
om the vessel. Chemical light sticks or batte
oks as an attractor.

vertical setline is the use of 1" PVC pipe as
:ommodate hook leaders branching off the PT
yed with a small pressure float to keep the ge


be fished from a boat and hauled to the surface
reels (called bandit reels) or with hydraulic re
ed from the mainline and the line attached to

gle hook for pelagics): This gear is similar tc
a single large hook is used. This gear is corn
For tuna, dolphin and wahoo offshore, particu
drifting vessel and starts at some point up cu
e-determined route. Lines may be deployed I
yed while the vessel motors slowly up current
;ed. Lines may be unweighted, weighted wit
rigger to keep the bait at a specific depth. Oi

ith live bait may be used to catch schooling d
;d with FADs. Live bait (sprat) is used to atti
ed. As the dolphin move away the fish are cl


rida, de alambrada, or currican): a line with c
their a natural or an artificial lure and towed t
I reels are used for trolling. This may be done
vnriggers.

Indicated in the name, the boat is not anchored
ir more commonly a handline is used with usi
rdines).

This type of fishing is used in the USVI to fi
nd "hardnose" (Blue runner, Caranx crysos)
e anchored boat using chum made of sand an
SHandlines with a single hook or multiple ho



76





























-thread through the float and hand reel
)date the all-thread is placed at the top



















was once used to catch lobster (it is illegal VI Code,

c. Snare (lazo): a short metal or wooden rod to which
lasso. Used by lobster divers.

d. Bag (saco): usually a nylon dive bag used to collect

e. PVC pipe lobster attractor: This a relatively new m
in St. Thomas/St. John District to attract and catch lobs
approximately 3 feet long is capped off at one end and
holes are drilled through the sides of the pipe. Salted ci
the pipe and the pipe is set with the opening facing a lol
attracted by the cow skin. Divers check the pipes every
pipe they take the pipe to the surface and shake out the
Up to six lobsters may be found in a single pipe.

f Nets: Scuba gear is used in conjunction with nets b
gill nets and trammel nets above). Divers herd schools i









Appendix III
Photos of Fishing Gears of the U

Net Fishing











Photo
net shc
Photo 1: St. Thomas, USVI. Fisher at the
St. Thomas Frenchtown fishers' landing
shows a "fry" net, which is commonly used
in the US Virgin Islands to catch bait.



Photo 2: St. Thomas, USVI. A typical net
used to catch ballyhoo (Hemiramphis
brasiliensis).






























Photo 8: St. I





~WillliIMMI





















Photo 14: St. Thomas, USVI: Square trap Phc
with bait container attached. of g
in b













h
ow MIA IMI


















Photo

remove
trap to





Photo 18: St. Thomas, USVI. Plastic
lobster traps (pots) being assembled.



Photo ;
lobster
concrete


m













































S


_ .






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Photo 27: St. Thomas, USVI. Frenchtown
commercial fishers' landing site. Boat in
middle is a trap fishing boat with pot (trap)
hauler. The metal sheet on side of boat is to
protect the fiberglass when pots are hauled.

Spearfishing


Photos 28, 29, 30: St. Croix, USVI.
Showing typical spear gun used for spearing
reef fish.

Photo 31: Typical fish species caught by
spear fishermen.






USVI Commercial Fisher Census


Conch Fishing


TF7 ~


Photo 34: St. Croix, USVI. Lobster catch
from fisher being weighed as part of the
DPNR/Division of Fish and Wildlife's
biostatistical program.


Photo 32: St. Croix, USVI. A conch
midden in the Aulucroix Channel by the
Molasses Dock. Conch fishers in the USVI
are required to bring the conch to shore
before iemo\ 11inu the meat fiom the shell


Photo 33: St. Croix, USVI. Fisher holding Photo 35: St. Croix, USVI. Fisher selling
spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) with snare. spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) in St. Croix
Fishers use this device to catch lobsters Villa LaReine fish market.
while skin or scuba diving.




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