In 2014, an economic survey of commercial fishermen in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) was conducted in tandem with the Marine Outreach and Education - Virgin Islands Style (MOES) fishermen workshops to expand data collection. Fishing is traditionally a profound aspect of life and culture in the USVI. This study discusses 1) fishermen background, 2) fixed costs, including vessels, dive gear, and fish and lobster trap ownership, and 3) variable costs, including fuel, bait, air, food and crew costs for St. Thomas and St. John (STT/STJ) fishermen, St. Croix (STX) fishermen, and USVI fishermen as a whole. After merging survey results with landings data records, the authors estimated respondent and fleet trip profitability. Findings indicate that net revenues and estimated annual profits were slightly higher for STX fishers than for STT/STJ fishers. The STT respondent profit rate was 20%. After weighting for non-respondents, the annual profit rate was reduced to 15%. In comparison, the STX respondent profits rate was 33%, but after adjusting for non-respondents, the annual profit rate settled at 17%. This study also indicates that USVI fishermen are receptive to filling out economic surveys so long as they are a part of the regular and required Department of Planning and Natural Resources process.
Citation: Fleming, C.S., A. Armentrout, and S. Crosson. 2017. Economic survey results for United States Virgin Islands commercial fisheries. US Dep. Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-718, 33p. doi:10.7289/V5/TM-SEFSC-718
Economic survey results for United States Virgin Islands commercial fisheries: (full report, pdf 9.39 MB)