DoE urges people not to encourage poachers

| 30/11/2015 | 24 Comments
Cayman News Service

Queen conch shell

(CNS): The much-anticipated local lobster season opens Tuesday but the Department of Environment officials are reminding members of the public not to encourage poachers and not to buy more than the legal limits. The goal of the regulations that control the take of lobster and conch from Cayman waters is to ensure sustainable recreational fisheries for everyone, a DoE official said. Both Conch and lobster remain threatened and the open season for taking the tasty shell-fish therefore remains limited for both, as do the numbers each person is allowed to take.

The lobster season begins tomorrow, 1 December, and lasts until the end of February — just three months — while the conch season is slightly longer, as that opened 1 November and will last until the end of April.

The catch or purchase limit on lobsters remains at three per person or six per boat each day, whichever is less, and the minimum size is a six-inch tail length. The conch limit is five per person or ten per boat. The purchase limit is also five conch per day. No one is allowed to take either lobster or conch from marine parks or replenishment zones.

Open season for whelks also began last month and lasts until 30 April, The catch or purchase limit is two and one-half gallons of whelks in the shell or two and one-half pounds of processed whelks. Bleeding teeth, chitons (sea beef) and periwinkles may not be taken at any time.

Meanwhile, given the threat to the Nassau grouper, the DoE is also reminding fishermen that no grouper can be taken near holes until the end of March. Fish taken from the wider oceans must be a minimum of 12 inches.

Anyone seeing anyone poaching marine life should call 911 or Grand Cayman: 916-4271, Cayman Brac: 926-0136, Little Cayman: 926-2342

Copies of the conservation rules, including marine parks maps, are available online ( or by email (

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Category: Crime, DoE, Science & Nature

Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Poaching does not seem to be done only by locals or residents. On Nov 26 I was driving a tour from the cruise ship and stopped at WB public Beach/Launch Ramp with my clients. I observed a woman and man, who may have been visitors, on the beach. The man had a conch and a lobster. I saw him throw the conch shell back into the ocean and wash the lobster and put it on the small wall by the launching ramp, near where they were sitting. This was days before lobster season opened. Although I wanted to approach and inform him that he was illegally in possession of a lobster, I could not leave my clients who were on a timed tour. The curious thing is that many local vendors were present in the area and it appeared that no one else even bothered to say anything.

  2. Gunter Seebooten says:

    Perhaps DOE might consider using the old lookout tower at Fort George. That’s what it was designed for.

  3. good grief says:

    The DOE needs to have their enforcement officers on the water if they want to achieve any real success. Having officers in cars/trucks makes about as much sense as trying to control speeding cars from the deck of a center console. In order for poachers to be dealt with properly there has to be a team scenario of one or more on the water and one or more on the land. To do otherwise is ludicrous and the excuse of not enough money for gas for boats is beyond ludicrous. People have been allowed to destroy the estuaries for so called development, people spray and apply herbicides, pesticides etc. all of which are extremely toxic to marine organisms all the way to the waterline and this is in addition to all other manner of pollutants. The marine parks are under no uncertain terms not being properly patrolled and do not try to say that someone sitting in a vehicle near the coast will get the job done because it will not and has not. Now we have the impending draconian increase in the expansion of complete no take zones taking away the traditional fishing grounds yet the existing parks are not being properly enforced and it really pisses me off because those who follow the rules are made to be denied because the government does not properly enforce the existing marine parks. The situation is beyond ridiculous and there has to be a holistic approach taken to protecting our marine environment. Those high horse hypocrites who like to lambast Caymanians for getting lobster or conch for dinner while puttering around on some “weed free” golf course that used to be an estuary and then continue their perfect existence by going to some restaurant where the lobster was most probably poached need to look themselves in the mirror. Unless and until the criminal syndicates who are behind and actually protect from prosecution a lot of the poaching activity are dealt with for the enemies of the Cayman Islands which they are and until all of the factors negatively affecting the marine environment of the Cayman Islands are held to account and proactively mitigated the present trajectory of the state of our marine environment and the solutions being forwarded by the DOE will continue to be akin to pissing into the wind, putting lipstick on the proverbial pig and public relations stunts the likes of which dart et al could take some lessons from (as if they need any help). With all due respect to the DOE and those who are actually trying to make a difference as opposed to those for whom it seems the job is the means to an end for a paycheck ( and worse if rumours are to be believed) you need to have a physical presence on the water 24/7/365 and nothing else is acceptable unless the protection of our marine environment and the resources therein are to be a joke with poaching being just one part of a destructive whole and that is to say nothing of scuba divers who regularly snap the tails off of lobsters while on the tank and shove it in their wetsuit or wherever fully cognizant that the probability of them ever being approached by an enforcement officer is about as likely as Michael Ryan being held accountable for destroying many acres of mangroves and/or Dart being held accountable for putting structures so close to the sea on seven mile beach that in order for a beach walker to pass one would often have to pass through their living room. This is all in the same scenario where I will be disallowed from using my cast net to get some sprat for bait or dinner from an ever increasingly expanded tactic of dispossession from the coast of my own and only country while foreign nationals on work permits are allowed to take them by the cooler full to sell. McKeeva is known to spout his tripe about not being able to eat seaweed salad or mangrove burgers yet he is also known to blabber about how much he has done to protect our marine environment when the truth is all of the fish shit throughout history could not compare to that which emanates from said paragon of credibility. Now we have an evermore increasing need for infrastructure which was purposefully ignored while Camana Bay etc. was being conceived and built and so on and so forth and it is only when the smell hit their nostrils that they gave a damn. What a damn cluster FXXX. Put people on the water God damn it unless anarchy is the ultimate goal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bravo Jon! Nailed it.

    • Sharkey says:

      Good grief , I would say that you are really pissed off , and you are correct about everything .

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you want fries with your festering class resentment?

      • good grief says:

        I suspect it to be more than probable that I have more class contained in my little toe than you have in your entire bodice and/or personal constitution. For you, it seems that class has to do with where you live and/or what you drive, what brand of putter you own and/or what your bank account holds (and for you quite probably regardless of the source of said funds) and/or how “connected” you may be to the “movers and shakers” within the “faultless and incorruptible” upper echelons of that which is now very much erroneously represented as “high society” in Cayman.The dichotomy of what an arrogant and severely deluded twerp such as yourself ignorantly believes class to be and that which I know it to be represents a vast and somewhat impassable divide. The truth is the truth, hypocrisy is hypocrisy, the myriad threats to our marine ecosystem remain the same and the skewed mentality and naked emperor thought process and moral and ethical morass which individuals such as yourself subscribe to is in large part the reason why the quality of life and social cohesion in Cayman has been severely degraded and depleted for everyone from that what it once was. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that and I will now go to the pinnacle of mount trashmore to shout to the world my eternal gratitude for the presence of individuals such as yourself on this rock which was nothing but a “mosquito infested backwater” until the Cayman Islands were blessed with your magnificent and oh so very classy presence. You may now have a nice day and proceed to do what Richard Pryor told Bill Cosby to do which was have a Coke and a smile and shut the FXXX up.

  4. SSM345 says:

    Have the DOE tried setting up surveillance at any of our restaurants before to catch both the poachers and the buyers? More chance at success doing this than trying to cover all our waters with 3 people. If the restaurants are not demanding it or buying it from them, the poachers have no one to sell too in the quantities that they are taking on any given day. If you hammer the restaurants for this, they wont buy it again.

    • Anonymous says:

      To do that the DoE need to have the laws to stop the purchase of lobster or any restricted marine life from local waters without the restaurant or road side trader obtaining an official receipt from an official supplier that should be dated on the date of supply. This receipt should be produced on the demand of a DoE Enforcement Officer and should be valid during the open season only. No local marine life should be held after two weeks of the season ending.
      Out of season, all ‘off island’ marine life stocked should be accompanied by official receipts from authorised suppliers, with no exceptions.
      To help enforce this process all marine life should be tagged after capture
      with an official govt tag or package label identifying the supplier. This is undertaken in many countries to stop illegal capture and supply within fisheries.

      As for staffing, well that’s a complete joke and everyone knows it. At times there are as few as two officers patrolling the whole island, no boats available and no police interest.
      This island needs two officers in each district at all times, at least two boats in the NS and a boat or wave runner covering all areas accessible within the reef. This would be the absolute bare minimum if Marine Parks are to be expanded, in fact it’s the bare minimum now!

      But this would take a leap of faith by DoE management to employ the best they can get. A commitment by CIG to ensure meaningful enforcement with quality staff and equipment.
      Will that happen, I doubt it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please add up how many staff you think that would be working what hour shifts. I would like to compare to what are at the Health Services district clinics and ambulance service.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Too late, as all I can see left are the lobster heads on the deep ocean floor. woah.

  6. Tooty Fruity says:

    Eating shellfish will land you a spot in eternal damnation, alongside the gays.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “PENALTIES: Violation of any of these laws is an offence carrying a maximum penalty of Cl$500,000 fine and one year in jail. Upon conviction, forfeiture of the vessel or other equipment may also be ordered.”

    • Caribbean Sea says:

      Reality: chances of getting caught are slim due to lack of patrols, and even if you do get caught, you get a slap on the wrist fine that you pay by immediately going poaching again.

      The whole system needs overhauling, but these idiots want to take the easy option and expand the marine parks. Use the environmental fund to double or triple the DoE staff, make restaurants report who they are buying lobster and conch from and the numbers bought each day, and start sending poachers to jail and you might see some improvement in numbers.

      These guys are laughing at the current regime:

  8. Anonymous says:

    Currently there is no law limiting purchase or possession amount of lobster, only the actual take.
    Only conch and whelks have purchases and possession limits.

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