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Fisheries division issues spiny lobster advisory

Published:Wednesday | March 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/ Gleaner Writer

The Fisheries Division is reminding fishers and other persons engaged in the harvesting, sale and export of spiny lobsters to be mindful of the new regulations which will be in effect again when the annual close season begins on Sunday, April 1.

Even though the spiny lobster close season runs until Saturday, June 30, the law provides for a limited time between April 1 and April 21 when licensed fisherman who have been granted special permission can sell, export or process spiny lobster or spiny lobster products which had been lawfully fished and declared to the licensing authority, before the start of the close season.

In addition, fishers who have in stock an abundance of lobster legally harvested and declared before April, which they intend to sell after the close season, should make request in writing to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and copied to the Licensing Authority on or by Sunday, April 15. The application must describe:

n The product being stored (whole, tailed, or meat).

n Include a declaration of intent that such spiny lobster or its products will be sold/exported/ processed at the end of the close season.

n State the name and address of the intended approved storage facility and accompanied by a valid export licence, where applicable.

The applicant will have no access to the lobsters in storage until Sunday, July 1, when a formal release from an approved or authorised storage facility is granted by the authorities.

However, between Sunday, April 22 and June 30, it is illegal for anyone to have any species of spiny lobsters/spiny lobster parts in their possession without a special permission. In a press advertisement on Sunday, the Fisheries Division said it does not matter whether the spiny lobster is fresh or frozen as any such products will be seized and the individuals or businesses involved liable to prosecution.

Fishing for spiny lobsters during the close season is illegal and it is also against the law to keep live spiny lobsters in any holding devices during this period. Any spiny lobsters unintentionally caught in fishing gear must be returned to the water alive and unharmed.

Declarations and applications for storage should be submitted to Fisheries Division, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, 2C Newport East, PO Box 470, Jamaica, W.I.