Home > Explore Data & Reports > Survey and impact assessment of derelict fish traps in St. Thomas and St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands


Clark, R., S.J. Pittman, T.A. Battista, and C. Caldow. 2012. Survey and impact assessment of derelict fish traps in St. Thomas and St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 147. Silver Spring, MD. 51 pp.

Data/Report Type:

NOAA Technical Memorandum


Since 2001, NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) has been working with federal and territorial partners to characterize, monitor, and assess the status of the marine environment across the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). At the request of the St. Thomas Fisherman’s Association (STFA) and NOAA Marine Debris Program, NCCOS developed new partnerships and novel technologies to scientifically assess the threat from derelict fish traps (DFTs). Prior to this study, there was a general lack of knowledge regarding derelict fish traps in the Caribbean. No spatially explicit information existed regarding fishing effort, abundance and distribution of derelict traps, the rate at which active traps become derelict, or areas that are prone to dereliction. Furthermore, there was only limited information regarding the impacts of derelict traps on natural resources including ghost fishing. This research identified two groups of fishing communities in the region: commercial fishing that is most active in deeper waters (30 m and greater), and an unknown number of unlicensed subsistence and/or commercial fishers that fish closer to shore in shallower waters (30 m and less).

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