Sun | Sep 24, 2023

Application deadline for lobster fishing licences extended

Published:Friday | June 2, 2023 | 1:02 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer

Applicants who were granted Industrial Lobster Fishing Vessel licences for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 spiny lobster fishing seasons, but failed to utilise those licences, will not be eligible for licences for the period 2023-2025.

This notice was contained in a press release from the National Fisheries Association, published in The Gleaner yesterday, which also advised that deadline for the next two upcoming annual Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) fishing seasons, has been extended to Friday June 16, from the original date of June 2.

This is in keeping with the start of the annual fishing season for spiny lobster on Saturday, July 1, following the end of the close season on June 30.

The public and fishers are reminded that the National Fisheries Authority and the national law enforcement agencies such as the marine police and Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard will continue enforcement activities for illegal spiny lobsters, such as undersized Caribbean spiny lobsters, those with their carapace (heads) length being less than 7.62 centimetres (three inches), and female lobsters with eggs attached to their underside, also called berried lobsters.

It is illegal to land berried lobsters any time of the year, and if caught, these should be returned to the sea immediately.

In keeping with the agreed management measures for conserving and ensuring sustainability of the Caribbean spiny lobster fishery, only a limited number of licences will be granted. In determining the award of licences, the National Fisheries Authority will give weighted consideration to the following criteria:

• Whether the applicant owns the industrial motor fishing vessel;

• The history of the applicant in the lobster industry

• Whether the applicant has met the following incentive investments:

• Proof of employment of more than 20 Jamaicans with the prior to upcoming season;

• Owns more than 1,000 lobster traps

• Owns a fish processing plant to be us;ed for lobster processing;

• Operates live lobster facilities;

• Will use and deploy lobster condominiums and casitas in zones.