Many of you may have missed the new regulation that was
passed here in the US Virgin Islands protecting our Bonefish and Tarpon
populations. Below is the new regulation in its entirety:
RESTRICTING TARPON AND BONEFISH FISHING TO CATCH AND RELEASE
USING HOOK AND LINE ONLY IN THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS.
Dean C. Plaskett,
Esq., Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, wishes
to inform the public that, pursuant to the authority vested in him by Title 12,
Chapter 9A, Section 303 (a) (1) (2) (3) and (b) of the Virgin Islands Code,
effective June 1, 2004, Tarpon and Bonefish fishing is restricted to catch and
release using hook and line only. No take of Tarpon or Bonefish is allowed.
This moratorium on the take of tarpon and bonefish has been endorsed by both
the St. Thomas/St. John and St. Croix Fisheries Advisory Committees.
Tarpon and Bonefish are the basis of an
economically important recreational fishery in this region. These species are
not recognized as important food fishes and are not pursued economically in the
territory. However, they do represent a potentially important recreational
gamefish fishery here in the Virgin Islands. The purpose of this management
regulation is to conserve stocks of Tarpon and Bonefish for recreational catch
and release hook and line fishing for both residents and for tourists.
Now, the needless killing of large Tarpon by spear fisherman
and individuals spearing Tarpon from docks around the territory are offences
prosecutable by law. If you see anyone violating this new law, please call the
V.I. DPNR enforcement immediately at 340-714-9543 on St. Thomas/St. John and at
340-773-5774 on St. Croix. Please try to supply them with as much detailed
information about the violation as you can remember, it will help them in their
I would personally
like to thank the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources
enforcement and fisheries divisions for their enthusiastic support of this
important change to our in-shore fishing regulations.
While St. Thomas
is world-famous for our fantastic offshore fishing, we can build an inshore
fishery that is worthy of the same recognition.
June 2005 Feedback
Thanks to everyone for the positive comments and emails you
sent concerning the current state of our Snook fishery. Your enthusiasm is
exactly what we need to bring our Snook fishery back to world-class status.
The Summer Tarpon Bite Was Fantastic
The rain we got in May and June resulted in fantastic Tarpon
action that has continued into late summer. The influx of all that fresh water
and nutrients created the brackish off-colored water that Tarpon just love. It
is very satisfying to watch a client catch their first Tarpon, be it on a fly rod
or a spinning gear. The first comment that every angler makes isn’t the size of
the fish they just caught, but the unbelievable number of times it jumped.
That’s what makes them such an entertaining game fish, they never stop
fighting, or jumping! To close this month, I thought you would enjoy a few
photos of happy anglers with their very first Tarpon.