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Feb 15, 2018

Lobster Season Now Closed

February fifteenth is a big day for fishermen and lobster eaters in Belize. It is the day when the lobster season closes off and that means no traps are to be set and no one should be eating lobsters for the next four months. The Belize Fisheries Department announced the closure of the consumption and harvesting season for Caribbean Spiny Lobster beginning today through to June fourteenth. Andrea Polanco spoke with Fisheries Officer Ramon Carcamo about the importance of adhering to the closed lobster season.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

As of today if you are caught with lobsters in your possession you will go before the court where you will be charged a fine and possibly face jail time, that’s because the lobster season closed off today and reopens until mid-June.


Ramon Carcamo

Ramon Carcamo, Fisheries Officer, Belize Fisheries Department

“As of today the Lobster Season is closed which is the fifteenth of February to the fourteenth of June of this year. It means that no one should be in possession of any lobster in Belize, meaning no restaurants, hotels, or any public place that sells; even in the domestic homes, no one should be in possession of lobster. Meaning, if you have it now, we advise you to find a way to get rid of it. Because the law is strict and it specifies that possession is illegal and it has fines for that.”


Andrea Polanco

“Is there a minimum fine that you’re charged initially? How does it work? Are you charged per individual lobster?”


Ramon Carcamo

“When the persons are caught, say for example, today, they will charged a penalty for possession, which starts from five hundred dollars up to two years imprisonment. The magistrate then decides exactly the penalty and the fine which will be attached to that. Even during the close seasons as in the open season, there is a specific charge for individual lobsters that starts from thirty-dollars that could result up to two years maximum imprisonment also.”


You can’t harvest nor consume Caribbean Spiny Lobsters during this four month period because this is the spawning season for the lobsters. As Carcamo explains, this is a part of the sustainable management of this marine species.


Ramon Carcamo

“The management approach that the world has and even the Fisheries Department here in Belize is to protect these species especially during the reproductive season. It is a period of time that these fisheries, these specific animals reproduce and do all their biological activity that help them to recuperate, to strengthen the stocks and recover the stocks. And so that is important for them to be protected because they are susceptible and can be easily be caught and they can be affected in their reproductive cycle.”


And so giving the lobsters time to reproduce without interference is one of the biggest ways to ensure that this commercially valuable product continues to earn millions in revenue every year for Belize. So, the economic, social and cultural benefits are reasons enough for us to adhere to the closed season.


Ramon Carcamo

“Lobster production has increased. We know now that we are harvesting the lobster tails. On average it is about four hundred pounds of tail value of twelve million dollars. And we are now harvesting whole lobster, which is another category, another version of commodity with added value which is another four hundred thousand pounds which is about six million dollars harvested. You see now we are about nine hundred thousand pounds of lobster, that has resulted from the good management of the fisheries department, the enforcement, the monitoring, and the collaboration we have had with other co-managers and N.G.O.s.   The fishery provide direct employment to almost three thousand fisherman – that is direct employment and when it trickles down to the family we know that more than twenty to twenty-five thousand persons are depending on the lobster itself, the season. The tourism sector is another sector there that is highly dependent for the tourism so the added value for it is not only the eating or the consumption of it but it has become a culture, it is a tourism activity, it has become a livelihood for many Belizeans and they are highly dependent. So, the Government recognizes this and put a lot of effort here in Belize to manage the lobster stock.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


The Fisheries Department urges the public to call 224-4552 to report anyone seen harvesting, selling, buying or consuming lobster during the closed season.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Lobster Season Now Closed”

  1. nathaniel says:

    I understand the concern of protecting the species but what if i want to buy a pack of lobster tails from the grocery store for personal consumption for me I believe it is unfair, the season is closed but once the produce is available on the market to purchase legally we should have the right to enjoy it. you can’t be charge for something that is frozen that is insane.

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