December 1st marks the start of Lobster season.
But before you hit the water in search of these delicious decapods, the Department of Environment is warning lobster wranglers and restaurants to play by the rules.
“Lobster season opens on December 1st, and we are sure that a lot of people weather permitting will be out this Saturday looking for lunch,” said DOE Legislation Implementation and Coordination Unit manager John Bothwell.
DOE enforcement will also have a presence on the water for opening weekend, he said.
“You will see them out checking boaters, checking at the ramps, asking people to see how many lobsters you got in your bucket there, that kind of thing,” said Mr. Bothwell.
He told cayman 27 the lobster limits are strictly enforced.
“It’s three per person or six per boat per day, whichever is less, and that is in place to make sure it’s a sustainable fishery,” said Mr. Bothwell.
He said Cayman’s roughly 29,000 acres of shelf area aren’t enough to support a commercial lobster fishery.
“That three per person per day is a recreational limit,” explained Mr. Bothwell. “It is set at that level, people can go out, get a few lobsters for themselves, for the family, but is not something that people can do commercially.”
Mr. Bothwell told Cayman 27 the law interprets ‘people’ very broadly, meaning restaurants must also abide by the three per day limit.
“There’s no accumulating, no working around it: three per person, or restaurant, or whoever, per day,” stressed Mr. Bothwell.
He said the only lobster one should see on menus locally are the imported variety.
“Which means that for residents and tourists alike who like lobster, when you see it in a restaurant, they can be confident that that is the imported Caribbean lobster, they are not contributing to over-fishing in the Cayman Islands waters,” said Mr. Bothwell.
If anyone sees, or becomes aware of, suspected lobster poaching, or suspects someone is purchasing more than the legal daily limits, they are asked to call 911.
Individuals may also contact DoE enforcement officers directly on Grand Cayman (916-4271), on Cayman Brac (call 911) or on Little Cayman (925-0185).
For more information on open/closed seasons for lobster, conch, whelk and other marine life please visit the DOE website.