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May 29, 2000

Out of season lobster confiscated by Fisheries

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When lobster season closes on February 15th it means that not only are fishermen supposed to stop fishing, but the rest of us are also to stop buying, holding and eating the savory crustaceans. To make sure the laws are obeyed the Fisheries Department makes routine inspections of various establishments and Customs Department also keeps its eyes open for suspicious seafood. Today Fisheries put on a display of the results of two separate operations. Viewers who love the taste of the succulent tails are warned that the following video may raise their level of gastronomic desire to uncontrollable levels.

Alfonso Avilez, Assitant Fisheriers Officer

“They were basically two operations; one was conducted by customs yesterday. They had a check point on the Northern Highway. One of the buses going north was stopped and upon checking, the customs officials found an icebox, when they pulled out the icebox it was filled with lobster and the count was 110 lobsters, of which about 4 of them were of very soft shells, but they were all bigger size. No one owned up to the icebox, so the icebox was confiscated by customs and it was handed over to us this morning.”

“The Fisheries Department, acting on a tip we got, secured some search warrants and we went ahead and searched an area downstairs of what is known as Mike’s Club. Upon opening one of the storerooms, we found two new iceboxes. We took them out and found that they were filled with lobsters. The person who is apparently renting the place is not there at the time, so we brought the lobsters here and proceeded with the count which you have seen on the verandah and we came up with 295 lobsters. That breaks downs to approximately, 43, 26 soft shells. Of the 26 soft shells, 13 were undersized and 13 were legal sized and the others, were all bigger size lobsters.”

Avilez says because in the first operation no one owned up to the icebox, it will be difficult to make any charges stick. However in the second seizure they did find a person’s name inside the boxes and are presently looking for that individual. Avilez says it will be up to the courts to decide what will happen to the lobster tails. The lobster season opens on June 15th.

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