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#402353 - 03/14/11 02:53 PM Lobster
Marty Online   happy
couple of great articles in the san pedro daily this morning on lobsters and Belize...

http://www.sanpedrodaily.com/3-14-11.html

killer pic of the day also
http://sanpedrodaily.com/fotoofday.html

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The Heavy Price Of Inaction - Two easy steps to promote a thriving lobster industry

By: Kenneth Gale

During earlier years Belize’s lobster fisheries, were among the world’s finest.

They provided major financial support that bolstered Belize’s economy. But lobster fisheries today no longer produce such financial support, and the lobster season that just closed was the worst in history.

The destruction of Belize’s once great lobster fisheries, with its enormous decline in catch and loss of revenue, has been brought about by the Government’s 8 year refusal to listen to its own expert.

When the decline in revenue from the fisheries reached major proportions, the Government employed a marine biologist, who was an eminent authority on lobster fisheries, to advise the Government.

This eminent marine biologist was Maria Estela de Leon. Maria Estela provided recommendations that were the same as the laws used in the major lobster producing countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Cuba and the United States.

The first recommendation was that the lobsters be brought ashore alive.

A second recommendation was that the measurement of the lobster to determine its legal size should not be the weight of the lobster tail. It should be the measurement from between the eyes, or horns, of the lobster to the back of the body shell. The same method that is used by major lobster producing countries.

Belize’s then and present manner of determining whether a lobster is of legal size is to rip off its tail, killing the lobster. The tails are then taken ashore to be weighed. If the tails do not weigh enough, they are rejected. The rejects are tails of undersized lobsters that were illegal to take in the first place.

It is the epitome of ignorance to ignore procedures used by successful countries and kill off the small lobsters, by ripping off their tails, to determine whether they have grown to legal size.

It would not take more than ten seconds, to do like other countries and use a small 2 ounce hand gauge to determine whether the lobster is large enough to be considered legal size.

If it were not large enough, the lobster would immediately be returned to the water where it could grow up and reproduce. It would not have to suffer death by mutilation.

Bringing in lobsters alive is a universal practice. It is done in all major lobster producing countries and doesn’t create a problem.

When I was last in New Zealand, lobster fishermen accumulated and kept their catch alive in their receivers for more than two weeks, until there was a price increase.

Though it would have cost nothing, the Government has, for approximately 8 years, sat on its hands and refused to follow the experts’ advice.

If the advice had been followed, the lobster fisheries would have been rejuvenated to where it again became a major source of fishermen’s income. But because the advice was not followed, Belize’s lobster catch has declined to a point where income from lobster hunting is so paltry, the industry is almost dead.

There was one other important recommendation by the expert that was also rejected. This was a recommendation to outfit lobster traps with escapes so that baby lobsters could escape from the traps.

All that was necessary was to leave an opening running along each side of the trap, near the bottom, some 2 3⁄4 inches high. The opening would allow undersized lobsters to walk out of the trap.

Traps with these openings are used by the world’s major lobster producing countries. But Belize would not adopt the modified trap, even though it would have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of baby lobsters, which have since perished.

In any major lobster-producing country, Belize’s lobster traps would be considered illegal and would be destroyed.

Instead of returning tiny lobsters, that are trapped to the water, the prevailing procedure in Belize is to scoop them up, rip-off their tails and bring the tiny tails ashore by the thousands to sell to restaurants for lobster stew.

The practice is so prevalent, that when fishermen are questioned about why they take the baby lobsters, the common response is: “Well, if I don’t take them, someone else will”.

Thousands upon thousands of baby lobsters that were not able to escape from the traps are taken and killed each season. They are killed, before they have the chance to grow up and have babies of their own.

Now is the time to begin building new traps, or rework the old ones, so that sensible traps will be used in the coming season to protect the new generation of baby lobsters.

Even if the traps are not built or modified, lobsters can be properly measured by a small hand gauge.

Only legal size lobsters should be brought ashore alive, and there should be strict enforcement of the law to return undersized lobster to the water so that they may grow to adulthood and reproduce.

This one conservation measure would help prevent further depredation of the Belize spiny lobster.

The Government of Belize had a choice and it chose to do nothing! It is true that the previous government began this process of depredation, but the present government is squarely responsible for taking corrective measures.

Will the UDP continue to stand by and preside over the demise of the Belize lobster industry? Will it be inaction as usual, or will there be a vigorous response in favour of common sense?

Will the Old School fishing lobby prevail, or will there be young voices raised in favour of common sense? The Government has a clear duty to respond. But will it?

by Kenneth Cole, The Reporter

====================

Editorial, The Reporter

Evidence that Belize's lobster and shrimp production are in steep decline is overwhelming.

Now that Belize has voluntarily abandoned trawling as a method of harvesting shrimp, our only production comes from shrimp farms. Of the eight shrimp farms which were in production five years ago, only three remain today.

The high cost of feed has been blamed for the decline in shrimp harvesting. This is a situation which can change if Belize becomes serious about growing and processing its own feed.

Lobsters are another matter. These grow and flourish on the sea bed with no need for human care. Nature has provided them with ample grazing grounds, and they are resourceful enough to fend for themselves.

But the lobster is a slow-growing crustacean. Lobster requires between six and seven years to reach maturity and if they are harvested before they are mature, they will become an endangered species.

Figures for the last five years show that the lobster harvest is in steep decline. Despite the popular lobster fests in San Pedro, Placencia, and now Belize City, the spiny lobster or crawfish, once plentiful up and down our coast, has become a vanishing species. This is a great pity because a prosperous lobster industry could contribute greatly to the Belizean economy.

What's responsible for the dramatic decline in the Belizean lobster population? The experts tell us that we have not been harvesting our lobster on a sustainable basis. We have not allowed our juvenile lobsters to grow to maturity, and this has had a devastating impact on lobster harvests.

The ban on lobster fishing during parts of the year has been helpful, but we need to look further to find a more complete solution. We need to take steps to provide a secure environment for our baby and adolescent lobsters to allow them to grow to maturity so that they in turn can become parents.

Why is it taking us so long to provide this secure environment?

If there were an outbreak of swine fever in any part of Belize, or sikatoka on our banana farms, or citrus rust in our orange groves, our Minister of Agriculture would move with alacrity to fix the problem. But because the depredation on our lobster population is taking place underwater, away from the public eye, relief has been slow in coming.

Our Minister of Agriculture needs to focus on the sea as well as the land for balanced growth in agriculture and fisheries. Our marine resources are just as important as our land resources, and can contribute greatly to the well being and prosperity of our people.

Belize has always been a maritime country. But in recent years we have been neglecting our seafaring ways to concentrate on the land.

That is a mistake!

We need to give equal attention to development on the land and in the vast expanse of protected sea which is our heritage and our rare good fortune.

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#402354 - 03/14/11 02:59 PM Re: Lobster articles [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
Yes Great Article.
I wonder if Kenneth Gale picked that photo of those Maine Lobsters
_________________________
The Dive Shops Daily Blog
http://scubalessonsbelize.blogspot.com/

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#402355 - 03/14/11 03:09 PM Re: Lobster articles [Re: elbert]
SP Daily Offline
Woops...Thanks! Hadn't noticed that. It's fixed now

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#402356 - 03/14/11 03:29 PM Re: Lobster articles [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
At least they weren't red. I've seen cooked ones photographed before :-)
Good article though.
I have been watching the fishing cooperative die since 1986, its sad The statistics not being accurate because of the direct sales to the restaurants not tabulated is some hope that its not really as bad as the numbers show, but its bad ..
_________________________
The Dive Shops Daily Blog
http://scubalessonsbelize.blogspot.com/

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#402402 - 03/14/11 10:02 PM Re: Lobster articles [Re: Marty]
Diane Campbell Offline
Pity that there is usually an "independent" guide or renegade restaurant that will get you lobster out of season - and a hotel concierge who is more than happy to tell you where to find one.

Greedy choke puppy.

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#402404 - 03/14/11 10:53 PM Re: Lobster articles [Re: Marty]
Judyann H. Offline
It is also poor quality...I don't know the benefit to the consumer. If spiny Lobster are anything like the Pacific Coast Clawed Lobster or the Main Lobster then the animal quits eating when captured. That means if they are not eaten within 24-48 hours the tails begin to shrink....If they are harvested for their tails they lose tenderness and flavor.....It would be a disservice to your patrons to serve lobster via poaching.....
_________________________
My friends call me Judyann

www.blackorchidrestaurant.com

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#494612 - 08/14/14 06:46 PM Re: Lobster [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Lobster Diving - Belize

This is some footage of my friend and I on our recent trip to Belize. We were lucky enough to meet some great people who took us out lobster diving and showed us the honey spots in the South of Belize. Enjoy


Lobster Love

Lobster Love depicts a rare capture of Lobster mating in the natural environment. The sequence was captured at night off the south coast of Roatan, Honduras


Spiny Lobster Belize Barrier Reef - June 2014

Diving North Wall in Southern Belize Pirate Reef Divers @ Hatchet Caye Resort


Lobster out at night

Sometimes you get lucky at night and the animal comes out. Look at the beautiful colour to this lobster. Unlike the atlantic lobster these guys don't have claws.


Giant spiny Caribbean lobster freed by generous divers on Roatan

One of 8 giant lobster released on the Roatan Banks by generous divers who purchased the monster from local lobster trap fishermen from Cayos Cochinos


The Value of Lobster to the Nation

By Richard Harrison:

Spiny lobsters, also known as langouste or rock lobsters, are a family (Palinuridae) of about 60 species of achelate crustaceans, in the Decapoda Reptantia. Spiny lobsters are also, especially in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Bahamas, sometimes called crayfish, sea crayfish, or crawfish (“kreef” in South Africa), terms which elsewhere are reserved for freshwater crayfish.

Commercial lobster production (harvesting) in Belize started around

1950, peaking around 1984 when production reached around 1,000 metric tonnes. The value of exports peaked around the year 2000 at around BZ$18 million, for around 293 tonnes, when the average international price was around US$29 per kilogram or around US$13 per pound.

The Fisheries Act of 1948, and its Amendments, Regulations and its Subsidiary Legislation regulate fishing for lobster. It is illegal to harvest:

    • Lobster with carapace length less than 7.6 cm (3 in).
    • Tail-weight less than 112 g (4 oz).
    • Between 15 February and 14 June inclusive of any calendar year.
    • ‘Berried’ females (having eggs) or with eggs forcibly removed.
    • Moulting or soft shelled lobster.
    • Using scuba equipment in commercial fishing.

In 2001 the Northern, National, Placencia and Caribena Fishers Cooperatives produced 49.8 percent, 42.8 percent, 6 percent and 1.3 percent of all lobster tails, respectively. This means that the northern half of the country harvests the lions share, and that there is great opportunity for the southern half of the country.

“The lobster season will remain closed until Sunday, June 14th. This time is given to allow lobster populations to breed. The general public and fishermen are advised that it is illegal to fish, attempt to fish, possess, buy or sell any lobster or lobster products during the closed fishing season, which runs from February 15 to June 14, 2015. All lobster fishing gears, including traps, drums and shades must be removed from the sea floor during the closed fishing season. It is important that we follow regulation to ensure that next season is equally as productive,” was a statement issued by a Fisheries Department official.

The Spiny Lobster (Palinuridae) remains as one of the top marine exports for Belize.

The 2014/2015 lobster fishing season is considered a good one and the fishery has remained relatively stable over the past 28 years within the production range of 400,000 – 600,000 pounds. In 2014, lobster catch landings amounted to 484,891 pounds, which represents a decline of merely 0.45% when compared to the 2013/2014 season when 487,066 pounds was produced. The total export value was around BZ$15.27 million.

Some 452,930 pounds of lobster tails was exported that year, mainly to the United States of America. Other lobster exports included 31,840 pounds of lobster head meat, 3,102 pounds of lobster head and 77,911 pounds of whole lobster.

There is no available data on volume sales of lobster on the domestic market. With the growing tourism sector, and a local population of around 360,000, this amount is currently estimated to have an economic value similar to exports. The local market currently pays around BZ$15 per pound or US$16 per kilogram.

The value of lobster to Belize however, is much more than the current dollar value of exports.

BELIZE LOBSTER grows in environments that are still very clean and free from pollution, and is considered very high quality….it is one of the “star” feathers in the cap of Belize’s substantial conservation efforts, and should be used to attract more and better investment in conservation and sustainable development in the country….it may qualify for “organic certification” to earn higher value.

Lobster is prized all over the world, hence identifying Belize’s services and goods exports with the high quality BELIZE LOBSTER has all kinds of synergistic “image building” opportunities.

Greater linkages with the tourism sector can create lobster harvesting tours, complete with educational opportunities, preparation lessons, etc. The shells must be aesthetically preserved and cast into gift items, instead of being discarded.

Lobster is a part of Belizean culture…and is prepared in many different ways by locals, for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. This entire culture needs to be offered as a special gastronomic experience of visiting Belize.

Belize needs to grow this industry increasingly based on commercial aquaculture production of lobster. This requires substantial investment in research and sustainable development of the species in ways that cause minimal undesirable effects on the environment.

There are many value-added opportunities in processing of ready-to-eat meals of lobster and other seafood, developing on local recipes.

In short….BELIZE LOBSTER is the best of Belize!!!

Breaking Belize News


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#494618 - 08/14/14 10:46 PM Re: Lobster [Re: Marty]
ScubaLdy Online   embarrased
Interesting film of the lobsters mating. I could see the bright pink eggs rolling out of her. Then they attach to her belly and she carries them around until they hatch. I sure hope you were not catching and eating lobster during this period of time.
_________________________
Harriette
Take only pictures leave only bubbles

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#516040 - 07/17/16 11:07 AM Re: Lobster [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

The value of Lobster to the nation

Spiny lobsters, also known as langouste or rock lobsters, are a family (Palinuridae) of about 60 species of achelate crustaceans, in the Decapoda Reptantia. Spiny lobsters are also, especially in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Bahamas, sometimes called crayfish, sea crayfish, or crawfish (“kreef” in South Africa), terms which elsewhere are reserved for freshwater crayfish.

Commercial lobster production (harvesting) in Belize started around 1950, peaking around 1984 when production reached around 1,000 metric tonnes. The value of exports peaked around the year 2000 at around BZ$18 million, for around 293 tonnes, when the average international price was around US$29 per kilogram or around US$13 per pound.

The Fisheries Act of 1948, and its Amendments, Regulations and its Subsidiary Legislation regulate fishing for lobster. It is illegal to harvest:

  • Lobster with carapace length less than 7.6 cm (3 in)
  • Tail-weight less than 112 g (4 oz)
  • Between 15 February and 14 June inclusive of any calendar year
  • ‘Berried’ females (having eggs) or with eggs forcibly removed
  • Moulting or soft shelled lobster
  • Using scuba equipment in commercial fishing
  • In 2001 the Northern, National, Placencia and Caribena Fishers Cooperatives produced 49.8 percent, 42.8 percent, 6 percent and 1.3 percent of all lobster tails, respectively. This means that the northern half of the country harvests the lions share, and that there is great opportunity for the southern half of the country.

“The lobster season will remain closed until Sunday, June 14th. This time is given to allow lobster populations to breed. The general public and fishermen are advised that it is illegal to fish, attempt to fish, possess, buy or sell any lobster or lobster products during the closed fishing season, which runs from February 15 to June 14, 2015. All lobster fishing gears, including traps, drums and shades must be removed from the sea floor during the closed fishing season. It is important that we follow regulation to ensure that next season is equally as productive,” was a statement issued by a Fisheries Department official.

The Spiny Lobster (Palinuridae) remains as one of the top marine exports for Belize.

The 2014/2015 lobster fishing season was considered a good one and the fishery has remained relatively stable over the past 28 years within the production range of 400,000 – 600,000 pounds. In 2014, lobster catch landings amounted to 484,891 pounds, which represents a decline of merely 0.45% when compared to the 2013/2014 season when 487,066 pounds was produced. The total export value was around BZ$15.27 million.

Some 452,930 pounds of lobster tails was exported that year, mainly to the United States of America. Other lobster exports included 31,840 pounds of lobster head meat, 3,102 pounds of lobster head and 77,911 pounds of whole lobster.

There is no available data on volume sales of lobster on the domestic market. With the growing tourism sector, and a local population of around 360,000, this amount is currently estimated to have an economic value similar to exports. The local market currently pays around BZ$15 per pound or US$16 per kilogram.

The value of lobster to Belize; however, is much more than the current dollar value of exports.

Belize’s lobster grows in environments that are still very clean and free from pollution, and is considered very high quality. It is one of the “star” feathers in the cap of Belize’s substantial conservation efforts, and should be used to attract more and better investment in conservation and sustainable development in the country….it may qualify for “organic certification” to earn higher value.

Lobster is prized all over the world, hence identifying Belize’s services and goods exports with the high quality BELIZE LOBSTER has all kinds of synergistic “image building” opportunities.

Greater linkages with the tourism sector can create lobster harvesting tours, complete with educational opportunities, preparation lessons, etc. The shells must be aesthetically preserved and cast into gift items, instead of being discarded. Lobster is a part of Belizean culture…and is prepared in many different ways by locals, for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. This entire culture needs to be offered as a special gastronomic experience of visiting Belize.

Belize needs to grow this industry increasingly based on commercial aquaculture production of lobster. This requires substantial investment in research and sustainable development of the species in ways that cause minimal undesirable effects on the environment.

There are many value-added opportunities in processing of ready-to-eat meals of lobster and other seafood, developing on local recipes. In short….BELIZE’S LOBSTER is the best of Belize!!!

By Richard Harrison

The Belize Times


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#517371 - 09/06/16 11:53 AM Re: Lobster [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
Managing spiny lobster resources for livelihoods and healthy marine habitats

By A. Tewfik, WCS Marine Conservation Scientist

The Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus), Argus from the Greek meaning “watchful guardian”, is a conspicuous and critical resident of coastal waters throughout the region and functions as both predator and prey in the complex world of coral reefs. Spiny lobsters emerge from their shelters at the end of the day to forage on a variety of crabs, snails and urchins on reefs and surrounding seagrass beds and sand flats, returning to the protection of crevices and overhangs as the sun begins to rise. Their sheltering on the reef, often in small groups, is critical as they are prey to a number of other animals including groupers, snappers, triggerfish, octopus, turtles and the green moray. The balancing actions of eating and being eaten prevent any one species, beginning with algae and seagrasses, from becoming overly abundant or extinct. This allows the entire coral reef and all its surrounding habitats to remain healthy and resilient to natural fluctuations in temperature, wave energy and catastrophic events such as hurricanes when coral reefs buffer the coast from storm surge. At the same time, the harvest of spiny lobsters using diving, traps and artificial shelters represent significant livelihoods to fishing communities as well as tourism and export revenues in many countries throughout the region.

However, overexploitation and habitat damage have resulted in declining marine fisheries worldwide even as our general understanding of the consequences of such changes lags behind. The rippling effects of excessive fisheries removals have resulted in unpredictable dynamics throughout complex systems such as coral reefs including losses of ecosystem structure and function. The overfishing of a California spiny lobster species (Panulirus interruptus) has allowed a sea urchin to overgraze local giant kelp forests, resulting in the loss of critical food and shelter for many species including the commercially important spiny lobster. The loss of predators, including spiny lobsters, on coral reefs in the Florida Keys has resulted in the increase of the normally rare snail, the Flamingo tongue (Cyphoma gibbosum), which now overconsumes its normal prey of soft corals. Ultimately, altered systems display reduced biodiversity and degraded habitat which may no longer support fisheries or other critical services such as coastal protection by coral reefs. At the same time crevice spaces, overhangs and areas of reduced light, important habitat for spiny lobsters, within coral reefs are being reduced due to the death of hard corals and subsequent erosion, combined with the expansion of fleshy algae and sponges.

In Belize, a number of fisheries regulations pertaining directly to spiny lobster exist to create a balance of harvest and protection. These regulations include a closed season (Oct 15th – June 14th) to allow for unmolested reproduction and migrations, minimum carapace length (3 inches, 76 mm) and tail weight (4 oz, 113 g) to protect juveniles and a ban on the harvest of egg-bearing females and molting individuals. In addition, a number of local initiatives, including an extensive network of marine reserves, are designed to protect essential habitat, including those for lobster. In order for regulations to remain effective it is important to reassess them from time to time. The Wildlife Conservation Society in collaboration with the Belize Fisheries Department has an ongoing program, including working with local fishers and processing facilities, to monitor catch. However, it is the public’s understanding and adherence to government policy that is the most powerful tool in the fight to sustainably manage and conserve our natural resources. When you are harvesting, purchasing or receiving spiny lobster or any seafood as a gift be aware of the laws that are designed to protect these natural resources for all Belizeans, especially those too young or unborn to protect it themselves.



Photo by Victor Alamina, WCS Technical Assistant at the National Coop, Belize City.

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