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Lobster groups denounce online petition on alleged Honduran poachers

Published:Monday | July 6, 2015 | 9:44 AM

Two local organisations are distancing themselves from an online petition alleging that loopholes in Jamaica’s lobster licensing system are being exploited by Hondurans at the expense of Jamaicans.

The All-Island Fisheries Development Alliance and the Jamaica Lobster Harvesters Association used advertisements in yesterday’s edition of the Sunday Gleaner to denounce the petition, saying it does not represent their views.

According to the petition, Jamaica is again losing hundreds of millions of dollars to Honduras because of weaknesses in the licensing system.

However, the two local associations say they support how the government has conducted the licensing process for the start of the 2015 spiny lobster season on July 1.

The Jamaica Lobster Harvesters Association also says no licences have been issued to foreigners.

According to the group, the 17 licences issued this season were given to persons of Jamaican descent. 

The 17 licences reportedly issued this year represent an increase from the usual 13 issued yearly.

Meanwhile, the All-Island Fisheries Development Alliance says the granting of the licences is subject to review after the completion of a scientific survey. 

It says that survey is due to be finished within two years. 

The alliance says its represents more than 90 per cent of registered industrial fishers in Jamaica.