Predictions for the 2016-2017 season
Under the Fisheries Act of Belize, regulated by the Belize Fisheries Department (BFD), the consumption and harvesting of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus Argus) is only allowed from June 15 to February 14. The Belize Fisheries Department reported that after the 2014-2015 lobster season closed, the quantity of lobster tails produced was 484,891.1 pounds in 2014, with the figures increasing to 535,863.2 lbs in 2015.07 lobster-3
Spiny Lobster remains one of the top marine exports for Belize, with earnings reaching up to $15BZ million in past years. According to Mauro Gongora of the BFD, the lobster fishery looks stable, and the quota should be sufficient to provide for lobster fest. “It is projected that the season will be a normal season with a total of 439,000 pounds of tails produced for the 2016-2017 season,” said Gongora.
The Fisheries Department will be closely monitoring the lobster fishing season for undersized species. Lobster tails must weigh four ounces or more to be considered legal for consumption. The vernier caliper (from center of eye to the starting of the tail) carapace must measure three inches or more for a whole lobster. Any fishermen caught with undersized lobsters will be prosecuted, and their catch confiscated. Fishermen harvesting undersized lobster face a $500 fine and other penalties depending on the level of the offence. Individuals or restaurants with lobster below the minimum approved sizes will be charged and fined for being in possession of undersized lobster. Lobster season ends on February 14, 2017.
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