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Brief: Fisheries Closed for Spawning Through April

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Jan. 24, 2007 — The annual fisheries closings run Feb. 1 through April 30, the National Marine Fisheries Service said Tuesday in its Fish News bulletin.
The areas are closed to allow the fish to spawn.
Fishing for or possession of red, black, tiger, yellowfin or yellow edge group in federal waters is prohibited. Federal waters start three miles offshore from the U.S. Virgin Islands and nine miles off the shore of Puerto Rico.
Additionally, fishing is closed in the Grammanik Bank except for highly migratory species. Closing the Grammanik Bank is intended to protect yellowfin grouper during the spawning season, officials say.
The term fish includes finsfish, mollusks, crustaceans and all other forms of marine, animal and plant life other than marine mammals and birds.
The highly migratory species include bluefin, bigeye, yellowfin, albacore and skipjack tunas; swordfish; shars; whie marlin; blue marlin; sailfish; and longbill spearfish.
The Grammanik bank boundaries are at 18 degrees 11 minutes north latitude and 64 degrees 56 and 57 minutes west longitude. This area is located south of St. Thomas.
According to the bulletin, researchers documented a severe decline in the abundance of fish during spawning season before the agency began closing the Grammanik bank in 2005. Researchers attributed the decline to increased fishing in the area.

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