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Tropic news. Volume 6. Issue 11.

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Title:
Tropic news. Volume 6. Issue 11.
Series Title:
Tropic news
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United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
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United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
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English

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Caribbean ( LCSH )
Newspapers -- Caribbean ( LCSH )
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serial ( sobekcm )
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North America -- United States Virgin Islands
Caribbean

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University of Florida
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Full Text



TROPIC NEWS

DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
RESOURCES
August/September1994 Volume 6 Number 11/12


More Sportfishing Tournaments
The Seventh Annual American Yacht Harbor
Billfish Tournament was held on July 23, 24, and 25
on St. Thomas. This tournament has a 500 pound
minimum landing rule for blue marlin. Sixteen boats
and 50 anglers participated in this event.
During the tournament, 53 blue marlin were hooked
with 37 actually brought to the boat. All were released
with tags applied to 21 of them. The largest estimated
fish caught was close to 500 pounds. "Lady Lou" of
Puerto Rico won the tournament for the second year in a
row. A


Blue Marli


The 22nd Annual USVI Open/Atlantic Blue
Marlin Tournament (ABMT) was held from August 18
to 22 on St. Thomas. This tournament benefits the local
chapter of the Boy Scouts of America. This tournament
also has a 500 pound minimum landing rule for blue
marlin but for the ninth year in a row, no blue marlin
were boated. Fishing for this tournament was scheduled
for three days before the full moon and the day after the
full moon with the full moon being a lay day.
One hundred and six anglers fished the tournament
on 30 boats. One hundred and six blue marlin were
caught and released. Eighty two were.tagged. The
largest estimated fish caught was approximately 600
pounds. Two white marlin were also caught.



-
Bluestrined Grunt

On August 20, during the ABMT, while the big boys
were hoping for a 1,000 pound blue marlin on the north
drop, Vitelcellular sponsored the Fourth Annual Boy
Scout Handline Tournament. Approximately 250
kids, from toddlers to teens, participated in this event.
Vitelcellular provided entrants with T-shirts, fanny
packs, handlines and bait. This was a catch and release
tournament with fish being caught off the American
Yacht Harbor docks, weighed and returned to the water.
Prizes were given for most fish, heaviest fish, largest
fish, smallest fish and ugliest fish. The most commonly
caught fish were snappers, grunts and crabs, one of
which won the ugliest fish category. The two winners of
the most fish each received bicycles from Woolworths.


The yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares, also known as Allison
tuna or longfin tuna, is a frequently caught gamefish in the Virgin
Islands. This species is characterized by a beautifully colored, torpedo-
shaped body with long, bright yellow dorsal and anal fins. Yellowfin
tuna can reach 195 cm (76 inches) in fork length and weigh up to 400
pounds. They live in the warm waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and
Indian Oceans. They are popular as a gamefish because they are large
and fight hard, often diving deep. They are usually found near floating
objects.
Yellowfin tuna apparently grow very fast, reaching maximum
sizes in around seven years. Most do not reproduce until 2 or 3 years
old. They have tremendous reproductive potential; a 20 inch fish may
lay 319,000 eggs and a 65 inch fish may lay 8,000,000 eggs. They are
capable of doing this two or three times a year, releasing the pelagic
(open ocean) eggs in short, sporadic bursts.
Yellowfin tuna, because they live primarily in the pelagic realm,
feed in open ocean surface waters on fishes and invertebrates associ-
ated with floating Sargassum seaweed mats. Foods include larval
crabs and shrimps, squids, Paper Nautilus, filefish, triggerfish, and
iacks.

Monster Shark Tournament
The Monster Shark Tournament was held on Sep-
tember 3, 4 and 5. Twenty three anglers on 6 boats
entered this tournament. A "Captain's Choice" format
was used where boats fish 2 of the 3 days of competition.
There was a 400 pound minimum landing rule and only
one shark weighed per day per angler. This made it a
modified tag and release tournament.
Only two sharks were boated, a 404 pound female
tiger and a 385 pound female dusky (points were lost
because it was less than the minimum). Four other
dusky sharks and two other tiger sharks were released.


\ Tiger Shark


QUOTE
"The major problems in the world are the result of
the difference between the way nature works and the
way man thinks."


~-T -c~


nn


<">--_- r-A----







St. Croix Recreational Fishing
Part of the effort of Division of Fish and Wildlife
personnel is spent interviewing recreational fishermen
to determine the catch and effort of the recreational
fishery. We are interested in determining how much
time is spent fishing, where the fishing effort takes
place, how the fishing is done (from shore, pier, by boat),
what types offish are caught, how many fish are caught,
and much more. Following is a brief summary of some of
the recreational information covering the period April
1993 July 1994 for St. Croix. Data analyses for St.
Croix, St. Thomas and St. John will be completed in the
fall.
A total of 1029 interviews were conducted; 625 with
charter boats, 235 with private boats, 160 with shoreline
anglers, and 9 with pier anglers (primarily on the newly
opened Frederiksted pier). Among the charter boats, the
average number offish caught per hour of fishing was
0.42 fish, while the average number of pounds landed
per hour was 10.97. For private boats the average was
0.78 fish / hour and 10.54 pounds / hour, for shoreline
anglers 0.33 fish / hour and 0.28 pounds / hour, and for
pier anglers 1.61 fish / hour and 1.23 pounds per hour.
The recreational boating effort was broken into 2
categories; boats 20 feet in length or less, and greater
than 20 feet. There were 35 interviews involving boats
20 feet or less, which caught an average of 2.45 fish /
hour and 4.46 pounds / hour. Thirty of the 35 smallboat
trips targeted offshore fishes, while 5 targeted reef
fishes. There were 821 interviews involving boats
greater than 20 feet, which caught an average of 0.44
fish /hour and 11.11 pounds / hour. All but one trip
targeted offshore fishes.
The most commonly caught offshore species was
dolphin (761 fish total fish caught), followed by Wahoo
(649), and blackfin tuna (232). Average weights were;
22.15 pounds for dolphin, 28.75 pounds for wahoo, and
10.74 for blackfin tuna. The most commonly caught reef
species were mojarra (130 total fish), ballyhoo (99), and

Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper


coney (53).
The St. Croix staff will be weighing and measuring
all fish landed at the upcoming fall St. Croix fishing
tournaments.: the Fishing Lady Classic on 17 Septem-
ber, and the Golden Hook Challenge on 21-23 October.
Look for tournament summaries in later newsletters.
National Fisheries Conservation
In the United States, our living marine resources
provide food, recreation, pharmaceuticals, photographs,
and considerable interest. All of this is worth many tens
of billions of dollars to the economy. However, it will
take some serious conservation efforts to maintain and
increase these benefits in the future.
Recent increases in harvest levels are misleading
because they are the result of increases in numbers of
people fishing and amounts of gear being used. If we
look behind the scenes, we can see the real story. Of 156
species or species groups whose status have been as-
sessed, 67 (43%) are classified as overutilized, 61 (39%)
are considered fully utilized, and only 28 (18%) are
underutilized. Also disturbing is that the status of over
one-third of our fishery stocks is unknown because of
limitations in our ability to assess fish stocks.
To stop overfishing our fisheries and rebuild stocks
will take new approaches and joint efforts by fishery
managers, lawmakers and fishery participants. Some of
the key tools to do this are; determining a way to fi-
nance the short-term costs of rebuilding the stocks
(involving fishermen and processors to enable them to
survive financially while stocks recover), reducing
harvest through limited access or gear restrictions, and
protecting and restoring coastal habitats which are vital
to the maintenance of living marine resources.
With joint efforts and innovative approaches, we can
all take part in restoring the ocean's wealth in fishery
resources. For if we don't, who will?


& i


44'


This newsletter was funded by the US
Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and
Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean
Fishery Management Council and the
Government of the VI.


GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
OF THE UNITED STATES
.*****
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
6291 Estate Nazareth 101
St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104
(809)775-6762 (ST.T.). (809)772-1955 (ST.X.)


BULK RATE
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V,
PERMIT NO. 35


Address Correction Requested


I CIII


N -


'' "




Full Text

PAGE 1

, ! ~ ;" . t " !, ,-=;=: 1 t . ~I D EP AR TMENT OF PLANNING AND NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION OFFISH AND WILDLIFE August/September1994 Volume 6 Number 11/12 ~:::.~;:;;J ~ -dJ :~;;;:':;f~~ V ' ;:",. ~ ~ ..S;:="~~;~;£;;.';'-"~=J. , "0.. : ., :'" .' ~, . "... .' ." . ll. ~~i~~~~~~_. . " , ~;".;,;;..:~"" ---'~.-o.More Sportfishing Tournaments The Seventh Annual American Yacht Harbor Billfish Tournament was held on July 23, 24, and 25 on St. Thomas. This tournament has a 500 pound minimum landing rule for blue marlin. Sixteen boats and 50 anglers participated in this event. During the tournament, 53 blue marlin were hooked with 37 actually brought to the boat. All were released with tags applied to 21 of them. The largest estimated fish caught was close to 500 pounds. "Lady Lou" of Puerto Rico won the tournament for the second year in a row. ~ Blue Marlin The yel1owfin tuna, Thunnus albacares, also known as Allison tuna or longfin tuna, is a frequently caught gamefish in the Virgin Islands. This species is characterized by a beautifully colored, torPedoshaped body with long, bright yellow dorsal and analnns. Yellow fin tuna can reach 195 cm (76 inches) in fork length and weigh up to 400 pounds. They live in the warm waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They are popular as a game fish because they are large and fight hard, often diving deep. They are usually found near floating objects. Yellowfin t)lna apparently grow very fast, reaching maximum sizes in around seven years. Most do not reproduce until 2 or 3 years old. They have tremendous reproductive potential; a 20 inch fish may lay 319,000 eggs and a 65 inch fish may lay 8,000;000 eggs. They are capable of doing this two or three times a year, releasing the pelagic (open ocean) eggs in short, sporadic b1.1rsts. Yellowfin tuna, because they live primarily in the pelagic realm, feed in open ocean surface waters on fishes and invertebrates associated with floating Sargassum seaweed mats. Foods include larval crabs and shrimps, squids, Paper Nautilus, filefish, triggerfish, and jacks. The 22nd Annual USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament (ABMT) was held from August 18 to 22 on St. Thomas. This tournament benefits thelocal chapter of the Boy Scouts of America. This tournament also has a 500 pound minimum landing rule for blue marlin but for the ninth year in a row, no blue marlin were boated. Fishing for this tournament was scheduled for three days before the full moon and the day after the full moon with the full moonbeing a lay day. One hundred and six anglers fished the tournament on 30 boats. One hundred and six blue marlin were caught and released. Eighty two were tagged. The. largest estimated fish caught was approximately 600 pounds. Two white marlin were also caught. .-6\, Blu"estrined Grunt Monster Shark Tournament The Monster Shark Tournament was held on Septe~ber 3, 4 and 5. Twenty three anglers on 6 boats entered this tournament. A "Captain's Choice" format was used where boats fish 2 of the 3 days of competition. There was a 400 pound minimum landing rule and only one shark weighed per day per angler. This made it a modified tag and release tournament. Only two sharks were boated, a 404 pound female tiger and a 385 pound female dusky (points were lost because it was less than the minimum). Four other dusky sharks and two other tiger sharks were released. \J Tiger Shark QUOTE "The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between the way nature works and the way man thinks." On August 20; during the ABMT, while the big boys were hoping for a 1,000 pound blue marlin on the north drop, Vitelce}}ular sponsored the Fourth Annual Boy Scout Handline Tournament. Approximately 250 kids, from toddlers to teens, participated in this event. Vitelce}}ular provided entrants with T-shirts, fanny packs, handlines and bait. This was a catch and release tournament with fish being caught off the American Yacht Harbor docks, weighed and returned to the water. Prizes were given for most fish, heaviest fish, largest fish, sma11est fish and ugliest fish. The most commonly caught fish were snappers, grunts and crabs, one of which won the ugliest fish category. The two winners of the most fish each received bicycles from Woolworths. r! D

PAGE 2

--~ St. Croix Recreational Fishing Part of the effort of Division of Fish and Wildlife personnel is spent interviewing recreational fishermen to determine the catch and effort of the recreational fishery. We are interested in determining how much time is spent fishing, where the fishing effort takes place, how the fishing is done (from shore, pier, by boat), what types offish are caught, how many fish are caught, and much more. Following is a brief summary of some of the recreational information covering the period April 1993 July 1994 for St. Croix. Data analyses for St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John will be completed in the fall. A total of 1029 interviews were conducted; 625 With charter boats, 235 with private boats, 160 with shoreline anglers, and 9 with pier anglers (primarily on the newly opened Frederiksted pier). Among the charter boats, the average numb~r offish caught per hour of fishing was 0.42 fish, while the average number of pounds 1[1[lded per hour was 10.97. For private boats the average was 0.78 fish / hour and 10.54 pounds / hour, for shoreline anglers 0.33 fish / hour and 0.28 pounds / hour, and for pier anglers 1.61 fish / hour and 1.23 pounds per hour. The recreational boating effort was broken into 2 categories; boats 20 feet in length or less, and greater than 20 feet. There were 35 interviews involving boats 20 feet or less, which caught an average of2.45 fish / hour and 4.46 pounds / hour.. Thirty of the 35 smallooat , trips targeted offshore fishes, while 5 targeted reef fishes. Ther~ were 821 interviews involving boats greater than 20 feet, which caught an average of 0.44 fish /hour and 11.11 pounds / hour. All but one trip targeted offshore fishes. The most commonly caught offshore species was dolphin (761 fish total fish caught), followed by Wahoo (649), and blackfin tuna (232). Average weights were; 22.15 pounds for dolphin, 28. 75 pounds for wahoo, and 10.74 for blackfin tuna. The most commonly caught reef species were mojarra (130 total fish), ballyhoo (99), and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper ~"S}\ &; ~ f~.~~ ",,~(:'~~ ~~ ,>. -.(ORA.~"CI This newsletter was funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish ~nd Wi1dlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean Fishery Management Council and the Government of the VI. BULK RATE U.S. POSTAGE PAID CHARLOTTE AMALIE, Yo PERMIT NO. 35 GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED ST A YES ****** Deparunent of Planning and Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife 6291 Estate Nazareth 101 St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104 (809)775-6762 (ST.T .). (809)772-1955 (ST .X.) Address Correction Requested coney (53). The St. Croix staff will be weighing and measuring all fish landed at the upcoming fall St. Croix fishing tournaments.: the Fishing Lady Classic on 17 September, and the Golden Hook Challenge on 21-23 October. Look for tournament summaries in later newsletters. National Fisheries Conservation In the United States, our living marine resources provide food, recreation, pharmaceuticals, photographs, and considerable interest. All of this is worth many tens of billions of dollars to the economy. However, it will take some serious conservation efforts to maintain and increase these benefits in the future. Recent increases in harvest levels are misleading because they are the result of increases in numbers of people fishing and amounts of gear being used. If we look behind the scenes, we can see the real story. Of 156 species or species groups whose status have been assessed, 67 (43%) are classified as overutilized, 61 (39%) are considered fully utilized, and only 28 (18%) are underutilized. Also disturbing is that the status of over one-third of our fishery stocks is unknown because of limitations in our ability to assess fish stocks. To stop overfishing our fisheries and rebuild stocks will take new approaches and joint efforts by fishery managers, lawmakers and fishery participants. Some of the key tools to do this are; determining a way to finance the short-term costs of rebuilding the stocks (involving fishermen and processors to enable them to survive financially while stocks recover), reducing harvest through 1imited access or gear restrictions, and protecting and restoring coastal habitats which are vital to the maintenance of living marine resources. With joint efforts and innovative approaches, we can all take part in restoring the ocean's wealth in fishery resources. For if we don't, who will?