We asked the CEO of the Ministry of the Blue Economy about their decision two months ago to postpone the lobster regulations.

As we reported, the new regs require that lobster tails weigh a minimum of 4.5 ounces, up from the previous 4 ounces. Also, fisherfolk would no longer be allowed to catch and market lobster smaller than 3.25 inches. Previously, the minimum size was 3 inches. Government experts say that this change is necessary for the lobster industry's long-term recovery.

But, due to pushback from fishing communities countrywide, the government decided to postpone the implementation of those regulations until next June. We asked the CEO about that:

Kennedy Carrillo - CEO, Ministry of the Blue Economy
"We recognized that it was important to give the Fishers a grace period, and the decision was made to defer for one year. But, we know that we must move forward. It is in legislation, and not only that, but it is an obligation that we have because the previous government had signed on for this ratification. And what we are seeing now is it's our turn, really, to put in place this legislation. We had the opportunity to visit different communities. And we heard them. We heard them very loud and very clear. But really, what we need to do as a ministry of Blue Economy because we recognize the importance of our role in marine protection, and we also have responsibility for other marine protected areas. But, we must ensure that we give back something to the fishers. We can't just be taking. And one of the givebacks that we are working on right now, together with the Taiwanese government as well as the Japanese government, just last week we received funds from the Japanese, is to look at deep sea fishing, but not only to open it up to, you know, the more wealthy exporters, but also to be able to empower the fishers. So that now they can go farther into the sea to be able to continue doing their fishing."

"And remember, our EEZ is larger than our land. And so imagine the potential, the economic potential. But we must ensure that everyone can benefit from it. It is going to be an even playing field where everyone can take advantage of what is out there. We know that the Fishers are not happy when we have to put in place restrictions as to where they can fish and so forth. But we must also look at the reality in terms of what is available out there, the stock. The fishers themselves know that it's not the way that it used to be before. So when their grandfathers sell them stories of how much stock there was, they are out there. They're seeing it for themselves. They have to keep changing. They have to keep moving to different areas, so they know that there is a threat."


Channel 7