Saturday, July 13, 2024

Spiny Lobster season comes to a close; fishermen and restaurateurs declare a good season

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The 2022-2023 season of the Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) officially closed on Tuesday, February 28th, through June 30th. The fishermen said the stock was satisfactory throughout the season, providing them with good fishing grounds while leading seafood restaurants added that the supply of the popular crustacean was enough for their operations.
The many fishermen in San Pedro Town stated it was a good season despite challenges such as ‘pirates’ raiding their fishing sites. In some areas, this threat decreased; in others, it required more vigilance from fishermen to protect their traps. For the upcoming season, fisher folks urge authorities like fisheries and the Belize Coast Guard to better patrol the waters.
In speaking to a few restaurants in the downtown area, their management shared that the supply was steady. On many occasions, they acquire large amounts of lobsters. When this stock was low, obtaining more lobster was very accessible. However, other restaurants around town shared that at times it was challenging obtaining lobster. They believe it is because some or most fishermen would sell to those businesses paying higher prices.
The price of lobster was one of the main challenges reported by restaurants. According to them, the price per pound fluctuated throughout the season. The handful of restaurants approached said a pound of lobster ranged between $30 to $45. The majority of fishermen stated the change in prices was due to the costs of fuel, the distance travelled to fish lobster, and the scarcity at times when their fishing traps were raided.
The Belize Fisheries Department warned that anyone found possessing lobster during the closed season would be prosecuted under the Fisheries Resources Act Chapter 210 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2020. In addition, fisher folks are reminded that lobster traps be removed from fishing grounds during the closed season. The Department said they would actively enforce the removal of traps from the waters during this period.
The Department further explained that the season’s closing in Belize is in accordance with the harmonized regional lobster regulation (OSP-02-09) implemented by the Organization for Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector, known by its abbreviations as OSPESCA.
The public is advised to report any illegal fisheries activity by calling: 224-4552 or emailing [email protected]

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