The closed season for trading and harvesting the Caribbean Spiny Lobster has commenced, and persons caught with the commodity face stiff penalties.
The Antigua and Barbuda Fisheries Division has also restricted the consumption of lobster.
According to officials within the Division, “The months of May and June are particularly important, as the percentage of females mating or bearing eggs usually peaks at about 80%.”
It was noted that, depending on the size of the lobster, a female can produce between 250,000 and one million eggs.
However, “although this number seems vast, the sad reality is that less than 1 percent reaches adulthood,” the Division reports. This severely impacts the number of lobsters that would remain if the species were to be overfished.
At other times of the year, undersized lobsters, or lobsters with a body length of less than three and three-quarter inches, or weighing less than 1½ pounds, must be tossed back into the sea undamaged.
The closed season for the lobsters commences on May 1 and remains in place until June 30 each year.
During this period, people are not permitted to catch, sell, buy or keep any Caribbean Spiny Lobster, or they will face a penalty of up to $50,000 in fines.These restrictions come under Section 42 (6) of the Fisheries Regulations, 2013,
Officials say that any person who disobeys the guidelines under this section, or commits any type of violation, can be reported to the Division for the necessary action.