Fishing on your charter in the BVI
Fishing is fun but find out about the fishing regulations in the BVI and required licenses
The warm, bountiful waters of the British Virgin Islands are rife with game fish of all types. From the blackfin tuna and the blue marlin to the wahoo and the swordfish, these waters hold prizes for anglers of all experience levels.
Where To Fish
One of the most popular fishing locations in the area is known as the North Drop, located east of Virgin Gorda. Fish inhabit this ocean shelf located about 200 feet below the ocean surface.
For those yacht charter guests seeking to hunt the ever-elusive bonefish, the area surrounding Anegada at the Northeaster most point of the BVI is a great place to start. Sportsmen travel by guided pole boats into the shallow flats or mangrove waters near the island, and enjoy the plentiful bonefish action. Others find luck between Tortola and its neighboring Beef Island.
While fish can be found in nearly every plot of salty ocean, yacht charter guests must be mindful that fishing in national marine parks or anchorages is illegal. Additionally, spearfishing is outlawed throughout the BVI.
How To Obtain A Fishing License
While dropping a line in the water may seem harmless, doing so without a proper license can result in undesirable consequences. Fishing without a license may lead to hefty fines, incarceration, and an impounding of the offender’s yacht.
Alternatively, fishing licenses can be obtained easily through a few different avenues. Although their offices are closed on weekends, prospective fishermen can visit the country’s Department of Conservation and Fisheries, found in Road Town, Tortola. Another option is to buy a license from a water sports shop in the area, such as Island Surf and Sail or Last Stop Sports, also located in Tortola.
These permits generally cost $45.00, and last for one month. They represent one individual—not one boat—so each member of your party over the age of 18 must each purchase their own.
Ciguatera Fish Poisoning
Reeling in dinner from the ocean may seem like an exciting idea, but not all fish caught in the British Virgin Islands are meant to be consumed. Many area tainted with Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP), a disease found in much of the marine life throughout the Caribbean. Neurological and gastrointestinal illness often comes to those who eat CFP contaminated fish, and there is no known cure. While the symptoms are nonpermanent, they can sometimes last for months or even years.
The disease is generally found in carnivorous fish like puffers and barracuda, among others. While catch and release is recommended, there are some ways to identify safe fish. Most yacht charter captains are able to recognize the species that are edible. Or, for those who wish to be particularly careful, Cigua-Check Tests can be purchased at fishing pro shops in the area.