The wait is almost over for lobster lovers. 1 December marks the kickoff of the season and the night before, naturally, is lobster season’s eve.
For some, lobster season’s eve is almost like an unofficial holiday – some getting up before the sun to harvest bugs from their favourite spots. The number one piece of advice from the Department of Environment is simple and straight-forward: stay within the limits.
That’s three per person, per day, boats with two or more people on board are allowed six per day. Why the need for these take limits in the open season?
“It’s very important for people to understand that there is a recreational limits, for people to go out, have some fun, get some lobsters for them self. It is not for getting lobster commercially, we do not have enough natural resources to have a commercial lobster fishery like other countries do,” said DOE Senior Research Officer John Bothwell.
He said the limits apply even in the restaurant setting.
“If you’ve got a half a dozen sort of live, wet, lobsters running around in your kitchen whether you are a commercial or personal, then that would be illegal,” said Mr. Bothwell.
He told Cayman 27 it’s harder to sniff out illegal lobster once it’s been put on ice.
“Lobster in your freezer looks like a lobster in a freezer, we cannot differentiate between local lobster and imported lobster once it’s just tails in the freezer,” said Mr. Bothwell.
He said that’s why the DOE counts on tips from the public to catch those poaching outside the limits, and the restaurants they supply.
“If people see any poaching going on they just call 911, and they will get the nearest officers, either the marine police or DOE officers to respond,” he said.
Again, the limit is three per person, per day, or six per boat with two or more people aboard. Tails must be at least six inches long. The use of gloves, spears, hook-sticks, and other devices to strike or impale the lobster are off limits. No take is allowed in marine parks, replenishment zones, or other protected areas. No taking of any marine life is permitted at any time on scuba, the one notable exception being lionfish.
Mr. Bothwell said you can call the DOE to report offences or use the anonymous CrimeStoppers hotline at 800-TIPS
Happy lobstering everybody! Check out the DOE’s National Conservation laws & Regulations brochure.