DoE urges lobster lovers to stick to law

| 28/11/2017 | 33 Comments

(CNS): With just a few days to go before the legal lobster season opens in the Cayman Islands, the Department of Environment (DoE) is reminding lobster lovers planning to go out on the water this weekend not to poach and to ensure they know, and stay within, the legal limits in order to protect them for future generations. Lobsters remain at risk and people should only take a limited amount during the three-month open season, which begins on Friday. 

“The open season for lobster is designed to give people a chance to recreationally harvest these delicious marine crustaceans in a sustainable way,” said DoE Senior Research Officer John Bothwell. “Our goal is a sustainable recreational fishery for lobsters not just this season, but for many seasons in the future as well.”

During the open season, which lasts until 28 February, it is legal to take lobster from Cayman Islands waters, but the bag limit is three per person per day or six per boat per day, whichever is less. Only lobsters with a minimum 6-inch tail length are allowed and no one can take any from Marine Protected Areas such as the Marine Parks, and the replenishment and environmental zones.

The take is limited to spiny lobster, Panulirus argus. Catchers should not wear gloves while snorkelling and people cannot take them while they are scuba diving. With the exception of lionfish, no marine creatures of any kind can be taken by divers. 

In order to help the DoE conserve these important marine animals, Bothwell also urged people not to support poachers. “Don’t buy lobster from people who are over the limit during the open season. It is a crime and should be reported to authorities,” he said. 

Meanwhile the season is still open for conch and whelks but they, too, have limits of five conch per person per day or 10 per boat per day, whichever is less. The catch is limited to queen conch (S. gigas) and no one person may take or permit another person to take, purchase, receive, offer for sale, or possess more than five conch from Cayman Islands waters each day.

Whelks are limited to two-and-a-half gallons in the shell or two-and-a-half pounds processed per person per day and no one may buy more than that. The public is also reminded that chitons, periwinkles and bleeding teeth may not be taken at any time and echinoderms such as starfish, sea eggs, urchins, sea cucumbers and sand dollars may not be taken from Cayman Islands waters at any time.

Anyone who sees or suspects poaching of conch, whelk or lobster is occurring can call 911 for immediate response, or DoE enforcement officers directly, Grand Cayman: 916-4271, Cayman Brac: 926-0136, Little Cayman: 925-0185.

For more information on all of the local closed seasons and other conservation rules, call the DoE on 949-8649, email DoE@gov.ky  or visit the DoE website.

Information regarding restaurants buying illegal lobster, conch or whelk and who is selling it, can be reported anonymously to Cayman Crime Stoppers, by calling 800-TIPS, which is 800-8477 (not 1-800).  This is a free, local call in the Cayman Islands, but it is answered by the Crime Stoppers call centre in Miami, so callers remain anonymous. The person who answers the call will not even recognise the caller’s voice.

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t help that there are active gov.ky web links (with oversight by full time salaried and pensioned media personnel) that suggest Conch, Welk, and Lobster seasons go til April 30th. Shouldn’t these people be fired?

  2. Anonymous says:

    You people don’t know what you all are talking about,poaching is not the problem in the marine environment its the fast development by the massive land developers,polluting the environment with all their waste and chemicals,I mean for a very small example why are they draining the fresh water into the sea on South sound rd,Don’t they have any common sense to know that salt water creatures can’t live in fresh water and guess what its all happening right beside a long stretch of mangroves.
    Here’s a little fun fact for you empty balloons that believes anything the media tells you,lobsters are the roaches of the sea they cannot be killed out,so enjoy your lobster season I am surely going to enjoy mine,can’t wait to sit down with a big plate of fried lobster and stew conch while watching my favourite show,FINDING NEMO

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    • Anonymous says:

      Finding Nemo is a movie, but you knew that right?
      Obviously as a true Marine Biologist you studied it while you were getting your degree from Trump University

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      • Anonymous says:

        Actually finding nemo is a cartoon and no I am not a marine biologist,I was just born with common sense unlike you who probably can’t tell your head from your ass,I was born here in the Cayman Islands so therefore I did not have a chance to go to trump university(sarcasm) but I do know which way is north and south with out using a compass,I got to grew up in a time when the ocean was my play ground and experienced everything to do with marine life first hand,so sad though that you had to grow up locked in your suburban home being looked after by your hispanic nanny and obtaining knowledge for marine life by watching discovery channels and finding nemo.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    More night time patrols! Keep posting it on social media and on CNS. That should keep them away for sure! *sarcasm* ?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Only the truly ignorant would use that as an excuse. No one robbed them of anything and feeling robbed is not a real thing. This is not about stopping anyone from fishing. Its about making sure there are fish, conch, and lobster in the future. Caymanians need to teach their children to get a skill and a good job or end up in prison.

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  5. God Fearing Society says:

    Eating shellfish condemns you to eternal damnation.

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  6. JAY says:

    Hedge Hogs are the biggest problems for lobsters can we get a license to eliminate them???

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are an idiot. How can pufferfish be the problem? Yes puffers might eat lobster, but they managed to coexist for millions of years before man showed up in Cayman. And there’s your culprit… Man is the lobsters biggest problem.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    just enforce the existing laws. problem solved.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They have never enforced any laws enough to make any effect. As usual the best they can do is ask the law breakers to please stop.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Ban removing anything from the sea within cayman territorial waters. Watch sustainable tourism flourish.

    Your welcome.

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  9. Not sure if people realise that everyone that is legally living in Cayman (all 27000 on work permits) have the same rights as Caymanians when it comes to getting Lobster and Conch but hopefully that will not happen.The Lobster and conch season in my humble opinion are way to long and they should be shortened so as to give them both a chance to come back in greater numbers than what exsists today.The powers that be MUST deal with this major problem before its too late to correct as they are fast becoming less and less.

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    • Anonymous says:

      A 10 year quartine would bring things back to 1800 levels, but some are too stupid to have any sence of ,squirrel, focus.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Couldn’t agree more Peter and I am an avid conch and lobster diver. It sucks but it has to be done. The stocks are being depleted so rapidly! It’s just not sustainable!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Milburn, I wholeheartedly agree with you! The main reason for our declining levels of marine life, conch, lobster, fish, whelks, is the amount of people that have access to take from our Cayman waters.

      Aside from Caymanians and work permit holders, our tourists also are allowed to take during the open seasons. Imagine, all of the 30,000 stayover visitors (about 10,000 families) each month can go out for conch and lobsters as well. HOW IS THIS SUSTAINABLE??

      Also, our “onna-rebel” Govt MLAs just passed a budget for 1.6billion KYD but could not find or give 2 red cents to help DoE with increasing their enforcement efforts!!

      The public has been screaming for more enforcement resources for DoE for years, yet the Premier, the Speaker, the Deputy Permier, all Ministers and Councillors of this Unity Gowment PURPOSELY said a big NO!!

      They could even take 15million from the EPF to dress-up the dump (we all know nothing is gonna change at the dump while the same management is in place) but still could not find 2 pennies to assist or increase our marine enforcement activities.

      I feel totally, totally ashamed of this Govt.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What you must understand is that the powers that be will never do the right thing if its a hard thing to do. Plan on it never happening here and you will live a better life.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Not true, it is a different time, corruption is easier to expose, and you my friend have earned yourself part of the problem and you will get your just reward, coward.

    • Anonymous says:

      DOE needs to require seasonal licences for conch and lobster. $15.00 for Caymanians,over 16 years of age, $20.00 non Caymanians.This is what all countries that are seriously interested in their fisheries do.Revenue from licenses could fund more resources for law enforcement. If indeed DOE is devoted to walk the walk.

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      • Where as I agree to a point with 11;11 that in its self would be a nightmare to enforce.The paperwork would be a big problem as well.More enforcement is badly needed as the DOE is badly undermanned as it is now and the money is there for this very same situation instead of being used for the DUMP.

  10. West bay Premier says:

    DoE urges lobster lovers to stick to the Law , Or what ? Talking to the kind of people who poach out of season and take more than their limit don’t understand when you talk to them nice . You have to say if you take more than your limit , you’re going to prison , and mean what you say . That’s what i would call enforcement , then the lobsters might have a chance to replenish and be some for the future generations .

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  11. Anonymous says:

    all the conch got poached in the Rum Point national park in the last month.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Furiner stole my job so all I have now is fish. I am bored and cannot think my way out of, fish. There are millions of jobs in the world and educational oppurtunities abound but all i knaw iz fiszch.

      -fisch out

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  12. Anonymous says:

    LMAO!!! Caymanians don’t believe the law applies to them!!! Sunday’s little ride out proves that our lobsters along with everything else on this island are screwed!!!

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    • Water for brain says:

      Maybe they don’t feel the rules apply to them because the lower class feels robbed of their land and resources from the influx of foreigners now occupying this once remote island paradise. Something simple as walking along the beach gathering welks,lobsters and checking fish pots have become almost ancient due to the increased foreign population and new legislative laws.

      To prohibit these people, these Caymanians who have been taught by their parents before them to live off the land and to give back to nature. Disgusting.

      How can you blame them?

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      • Anonymous says:

        New Laws? These are over 30 ears old. Give the victimization a rest. – Caymanian, occassional concher, irregular fish catcher

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow – it always blows my mind that it is ok to bash all Caymanians in one sentence, yet there is an uproar when other nationalities are targeted. Furthermore, I always wonder if those “Caymanian” reference also include all other nationalities who obtained Cayman status and how one can tell on sight whether someone is Caymanian or not (including a status holder).

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      • Anonymous says:

        I would like to make an honest atempt to describe a Caymanian. One who was born here, one who has immigrated legally, one who holds the best interests of the Cayman Islands at heart, one who does not send their every penny over seas and contributes to the local economy.

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