The Fisheries Management Unit is one of the five Units of the Conservation & Fisheries Department (CFD).  

The three major sub-areas of the Fisheries Management Unit are:   
1.     Data Collection and Research
2.     Fisheries Extension Services
3.     Surveillance and Enforcement Support

1.   The primary functions of the Data Collection and Research sub-area are:

(i)    Stock assessment of aquatic resources of commercial importance including the analysis 
        of commercial landings and recreational fisheries;
(ii)    Responsible for developing, implementing and managing research projects for marine
        and coastal habitats.

(iii)   Management oriented biological research on commercial and other species whose
        biology places them at risk to provide a basis for sustainable development.

(iv)   Advise on resource management strategies and development of management plans 
        on particular fisheries.

(v)    Execute a programme of data collection on commercial fisheries catch.

(vi)   Responsible for data entry, processing and report generation of statistical information 
        on commercial fisheries.

(vii)  Reviews applications for scientic research providing information on the impact of 
       fisheries resources.

(vii)  Provides information for the development of local fisheries legislation and implement 
       international legislation relating to fisheries management.

(ix)  Develops monitoring programmes for important 'fish' species.

(x)   Participates in conducting Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).

(xi)  Develops literature brochures and scientific reports to inform persons of matters
        relating to fisheries management.

2.  The functions of the Fisheries Extension sub-area are:

(i)    Provision and maintenance of physical infrastructure at landing sites.
(ii)   Provision of extension services to bonified fisherpersons and the fishing communities.
(iii)  Encouraging and assisting in the formation of bonified fisherpersons’s groups and
(iv)  Information dissemination and education of the general public on the fishing industry, 
       on fisheries management plans and co-management approaches.
(v)   Determine training needs of bonified fisherpersons and members of fishing communities
       and organize training programmes
(vi)  To work in conjunction with the BVI Fishing Complex to develop and implement
       marketing strategies.
3.    The functions of the Surveillance and Enforcement Support sub-area are:

(i)    To ensure that the fisheries laws and regulations are enforced.
(ii)   To assist with the Surveillance activities of the Department.
(iii)  To assist with the conduct of regular patrols of the Fisheries waters.
(iv)  To assist with monitoring the activities of foreign fishing vessels in local waters.
(v)   To monitor activities in and around demarcated Fisheries Priority and Fisheries Protected

Guiding Principles 

The work of the Fisheries Unit is governed by: 

1.   The Fisheries Management Plan for the British Virgin Islands, 1998
2.   Virgin Islands Fisheries Act, 1997
3.   Virgin Islands Fisheries Regulations, 2003

Vision Statement

An efficient, well managed sustainable fishing industry which is making a significant social, cultural and economic contribution to the development of the British Virgin Islands.

Mission Statement

To ensure that the fishery and the resource base on which it depends are managed in a sustainable manner for the greatest possible benefit of the people of the British Virgin Islands.


To ensure that stocks are maintained at, or are restored to, levels that can maximise sustainable yield given an appropriate environmentally sound and economically justified effort.


1  To ensure that the fishery is effectively managed towards sustainable use of the resource base.
2  To ensure that development objectives are identified, prioritised and management measures implemented towards increasing the sustainable contribution of fisheries to the Gross National Product, while generating greater foreign exchange earnings, increasing locally produced marine food supplies and employment  opportunities for British Virgin Island nationals. 
3  To develop a consensus based framework for integration of marine and coastal resource  use, towards rational exploitation of the national resource base.  

Supporting National Legislation
•   Virgin Islands Fisheries Act, 1997
•   Virgin Islands Fisheries Regulations, 2003
•   Merchant Shipping Legislation generally (17+) – MC&W and MNR&L
•   Environment Protection (Overseas Territories) Order 1988
•   The Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution) (Virgin Islands) Order 1997

International Conventions/Treaties/Soft Law Instruments

1.  United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS111).

2.  FAO Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas.

3.  Agreements on Implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea Relating to Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stock.

4.  Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention).

5.  Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife in the Wider Caribbean Region (SPAW protocol of the Cartagena Convention).

6.  Protocol Concerning Co-operation in Combating Oil Spills in the Wider Caribbean (Protocol related to the Cartagena Convention).

7.  Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land Based Sources and Activities.

8.  Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna Flora (CITES).

9.  Convention on Biological Diversity.

10. FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

Regional & International Fishery Management Arrangements

The Virgin Islands (UK) is a member of:
•   The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas since 2001.
•   The Caribbean Regional Fishery Mechanism (full membership pending)

Program Areas

The key program areas of the Fisheries Unit are:
•   Fisheries Management and Development
•   Data Collection and Research
•   Economic Analysis of Fisheries
•   Habitat Conservation and Enhancement
•   Development and Monitoring of Fishing Gear and Fishing Techniques
•   Development and Strengthening of Fisheries Associations/Co-operatives
•   Fisheries Extension Services
•   Fisheries Legislation
•   Fisheries Infrastructure Development and Monitoring
•   Maintenance of National Registers of Bonified Fisherpersons and Fishing Vessels
•   Licensing and Registration
•   Fisheries Surveillance and Enforcement Support

Structure of the Fisheries Unit

The Unit is headed by the Fisheries Officer supported by two Assistant Fisheries Officers. There are two Fisheries Extension Officers and two Fisheries Trainees.  The Fisheries Trainee conduct data collection and data entry activities.

Administration of the Fisheries Unit

The Fisheries Officer is responsible for the general administration of the Fisheries Unit.  Concerns and queries which the staff may have from time to time should be directed to the Fisheries Officer.  Matters which cannot be handled by the Fisheries Officer are referred to the Senior Assistant Human Resource Manager or the Chief Conservation & Fisheries Officer.

Collaborative Projects include:

•   Monitoring Marine Habitats eg.  Sea Grass Beds, Coral Reefs, Mangroves
•   Monitoring Fisheries Resources eg. Conch, Lobster
•   Developing Legislation
•   Surveillance and Enforcement
•   Mapping Natural Resources Distribution