(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