Fish and Wildlife Deploys Fish Aggregating Devices

The Division of Fish and Wildlife has deployed two new fish aggregating devices (FADs) in the territory, according to a Friday press release from the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources.

FAD X22 was deployed around St. Croix on Oct. 24, approximately eight miles west of Ham’s Bluff. This buoy replaces a FAD that was previously deployed in this location, known as “S FAD.” FAD T7 was deployed around St. Thomas on Oct. 31 and is located approximately 14 miles north of Cricket Rock. Both FADs are surface buoys that contain radar reflectors and flashing lights to facilitate navigation.

The GPS coordinates are as follows:

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FAD No. — Latitude — Longitude — Reference

X22 — 17° 46.798’ N — 65° 01.058’ W — 8 mi W of Ham’s Bluff, St. Croix

T7 — 18° 38.102’ N — 65° 03.310’ W — 14 mi N of Cricket Rock, St. Thomas

DPNR Commissioner Dawn L. Henry reminds boaters that mooring vessels up to the FADs is not permitted because it weakens the buoy components and can cause the FADs to break away. Deployment of the FADs will benefit the territory by shifting fishing pressure from heavily fished inshore areas to offshore areas with more abundant populations of pelagic sport fish species such as tuna, dolphin and wahoo. The FAD program will also provide enhanced and improved fishing opportunities to recreational anglers in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife anticipates deploying additional FADs around the territory within the next few months. The GPS coordinates of these FADs will be announced upon deployment. For locations of existing FADs or for more information, contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 775-6762 on St. Thomas or 773-1082 on St. Croix, or visit the USVI FAD Program Facebook page: “U.S. Virgin Islands Fish Aggregating Devices – FADs.”

This project is 100 percent funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Fund.

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