2015-2016 Lobster Season comes to a close
Monday, February 15th, 2016
Lobster season officially comes to a close on Monday, February 15th, and the Belize Fisheries Department has reported a stable 2015-2016 season. The Belize Fisheries Department informs all fishermen and the general public that the once the Spiny Lobster (Palinuridae) fishing season is closed, any person found in possession of lobsters during the said closed season will be prosecuted. The season will remain closed until midnight on Tuesday, June 14th.
According to the Fisheries Department, lobster traps, drums and shades should be removed from the fishing grounds during the closed fishing season. During the closed season, Fisheries officials will be visiting fishing camps and coastal fishing communities to take stock of lobster traps owned by individual fishers in order to facilitate the registration of such lobster traps. The Fisheries Department will be actively enforcing the removal of traps from the waters during this period.
And while the Fisheries Department is still in the process of completing the season’s statistical report, the figures are looking good. Spiny Lobster remains as one of the top marine exports for Belize, with earnings reaching up to $15BZ million in past years. As such, the Department is taking extra steps to prevent the illegal fishing, attempt to fish, possess, buy or sell of any lobster or lobster product during the closed fishing season. Persons caught in violation will be prosecuted in accordance with Section 3(1)(b) of the Fisheries Regulations, Chapter 210 of the Subsidiary Laws of Belize Revised Edition 2000-2003. Penalties for breaking a lobster related law can result in a six month imprisonment or up to $1,000 in fines.
The four-month closed season is prime spawning and breeding time for the Spiny Lobster. In addition, during this time Fisheries Department will also be conducting studies on population dynamics of the Spiny Lobster within Belizean waters.
The Fisheries Department makes a special appeal to fishers and the public to uphold the Fisheries Regulations in regards to lobster and other marine products, and urges all responsible citizens to call the Department at 224-4552 or 223-2623 to report any infractions or the public can contact Crime Stoppers Belize at 0-800-922-TIPS (8477). The Department can also be reached at e-mail: [email protected] The public is assured that all information communicated to the Fisheries Department will be treated with the highest confidentiality.
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