December 18, 2017

Cayman Islands lobster season opens

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The Department of Environment (DoE) reminds the public that lobster season opens on 1 December.  Anyone going out on the water this weekend should know the limits and not be tempted to poach.

“The open season for lobster is designed to give people a chance to recreationally harvest these delicious marine crustaceans in a sustainable way,” said DoE Senior Research Officer John Bothwell. “Our goal is a sustainable recreational fishery for lobsters not just this season, but for many seasons in the future as well.”

During the open season for lobster (from 1 December to 28 February) it is legal to take lobster from waters, but only within the legal/permissible limits. 

·         Lobsters

o   Open season is 1 December  to 28 February.

o   Bag limit is three per person per day or six per boat per day, whichever is less.

o   Minimum size is a six-inch tail length.

o   No taking lobsters from such as Marine Park, , or Environmental Zones.

o   Only spiny lobster, Panulirus argus, may be taken.

o   No wearing gloves while snorkelling.

o   No take of lobster (or any marine life other than lionfish) while scuba diving.

 

We also strongly urge persons not to support poaching,” said Mr. Bothwell. “Don’t buy lobster from people who are over the limit during the open season. It is a crime and should be reported to authorities.”

The seasons are also still open for conch and whelks, but within their own limits.

·         Conch

o   Five per person per day or 10 per boat per day, whichever is less.

o   Only queen conch (S. gigas) may be taken.

o   In any one day, no one person may take or permit another person to take, purchase, receive, offer for sale, or possess more than five conch from Cayman Islands waters.

·         Whelks

o   Two-and-a-half gallons in the shell or two-and-a-half pounds of processed whelks per person per day.

o   No-one may purchase or receive more than two-and-a-half gallons in the shell or two-and-a-half pounds of processed whelks from Cayman Islands waters per day.

o   Chitons, periwinkles and bleeding teeth may not be taken at any time.

o   Echinoderms (includes starfish, sea eggs/urchins, sea cucumbers and sand dollars) may not be taken from Cayman Islands waters at any time.

 Persons who suspect poaching of conch, whelk or lobster is occurring can call 911 for immediate response, or DoE enforcement officers directly:

•         Grand Cayman: 916-4271

•         Cayman Brac: 926-0136

•         Little Cayman: 925-0185

Information for investigation, e.g. which restaurant is buying illegal lobster, conch or whelk and who is selling it, can be reported anonymously to , by calling 800-TIPS.  That’s 800-8477 (not 1-800, just 800-8477).  This is a free, local call in the Cayman Islands, but it is answered by the Crime Stoppers call centre in Miami, so callers remain anonymous. The person who answers the call will not even recognise the caller’s voice.

For more information on all of the local closed seasons and other conservation rules, persons can contact the DoE on 949-8649, email DoE@gov.ky  or visit the DoE website www.doe.ky

END

IMAGE: Noozhawk.com

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