Press Release – Belize Fisheries Department – April 28, 2011 – The Belize Fisheries Department is hereby reminding the general public that the closed season for the fresh water turtle known locally as Hicatee is from May 1st to May 31, 2011.

The Department is also informing all restaurants, food vending establishments and the general public that the purchase or sale of the Hicatee (including its products such as cooked meat) is prohibited under the Fisheries Laws.
The following laws are applicable:
No person shall:

(a) have in his possession more than three such turtles at any one time;
(b) transport on any vehicle more than five such turtles;
(c) fish for such turtles during the period from 1st May to the 31st May inclusive in any year;
(d) fish for females of such turtles greater than 43cm (17.2 in) and smaller than 38cm (15.2 in);
(e) fish for such turtles in any of the areas specified in the Fifth Schedule attached to these Regulations;
(f) Sell or purchase such turtles.

Fishing for Hicatee in the following areas is prohibited:
1. Belize River: from Beaver Dam Creek to Labouring Creek;
2. New River: from Irish Creek to Water Bank;
3. Rio Bravo: upstream from Dos Bocas Dam, including Booth’s River;
4. Cox and Mucklehany Lagoons and headwaters of Mussel Creek;
5. Northern and Southern Lagoons and tributaries (Manatee lagoons and Manatee River);
6. Sibun River: between Ferguson Bank and Sibun Bar.

Any person who contravenes any or part of the regulation in relation to the turtle locally known as ‘Hicatee’ commits an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.

The General Public is advised to call the Fisheries Department Enforcement Section at 224-4552 or 203-2623for clarification or further information.