US sets catch limits for Caribbean fish

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US sets catch limits for Caribbean fish

February 16, 2012 - 20:34
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The US government is imposing limits on the number of fish commercial and recreational fishermen can catch in the waters it controls in the Caribbean. The new limits cover the waters off Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands angering fishermen who say the restrictions on species including the highly prized spiny lobster and queen conch will endanger their livelihood.

The limits cover species including angelfish. In Puerto Rico, the commercial sector is limited to nearly 9,000 pounds of that species and the recreational sector to nearly 4,500 pounds.

Federal authorities concede the industry in the territories could lose more than $1 million a year. But creating a healthy reef ecosystem is a priority, Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said this week.

The US Coast Guard is expected to enforce the annual catch limits with help from local authorities. Both commercial and recreational fishermen are supposed to report their catches, but some fishermen say enforcement will be hard.

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