Lobster Season 2006 is officially open!

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 16, No. 25            June 22, 2006

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Hankering for some fresh, scrumptious lobster? Be sure to buy some at Caribeña Cooperatives!

The lobster season officially opened on June 15th and already fishermen are hunting for these delightful delicacies; the spiny lobster. With traps and cages placed, fishermen all across Belize are hunting for these Caribbean crustaceans and making a living on their catch. Caribeña Enterprises Cooperatives started receiving lobster from different fisherman at $20 per pound. A lobster must weight four (4) ounces and above for it to be legal and purchased at any cooperative or store. The lobsters are kept fresh and ready for consumers to readily purchase.

    There are a handful of different species of lobster here in Belize. We have the Caribbean Spiny lobster, the Spotted Spiny lobster and three different Slipper lobsters. The Caribbean Spiny lobster, (Panulinus argus), is by far the most important species because of its relative abundance and commercial importance. This lobster does not have claws, but two very long antennae that often give away their hiding spot. They have beady black eyes on the top of their head and are locally called “bugs” because of their appearance. The Caribbean Spiny lobster takes three to five years to mature and can reach a maximum length of two feet, although sometimes they look a lot bigger underwater to the inexperienced eye! They can be found either snorkeling or diving as they range from three to 130 feet deep.

    This year, Caribeña Enterprises saw a reduction in the first day tally total. Last year, Manager George Kumul, says the first weigh-in for the day was a whopping 2,450 pounds and this year it totaled 1,562 pounds; a decrease of 888 pounds. But why the drastic decrease, according to Kumul, “it’s unpredictable as every year it varies, but we are sure that it will be a very active and most fruitful season.” Others claim the contributing factor to its decrease is because of the over fishing or that the lobsters caught haven’t matured fully and have to be thrown back. Whether the catch is pulled on a lobster trap or arrives on the point of a hook stick it is quickly tailed and iced in preparation for a trip to the processing plant. It is a proud fisherman who arrives at his co-op with a large load of fresh seafood. Currently, lobsters are being sold for $20 to $25 per pound by the Coop to businesses and local buyers. Now all you lobster lovers can devour and savor your hot lobster plates at restaurants or at home. The season will run through February 15th, 2007 when it officially closes.

Placencia Lobster Fest this weekend!

It’s also that time of year again as thousands of locals and tourists alike rush down to Placencia for the one of the year’s biggest events; the Lobster Fest. This year’s Lobsterfest location has moved out onto Placencia’s Point. Placencia Lobsterfest is being held June 23rd, 24th, and 25th, 2006 - the last full weekend of the month. This three day festival honors the delectable crustaceans that were once the primary means of livelihood for this one time sleepy fishing village.

    Besides the location there are other exciting things being added to the festival. This year coordinators are planning more day time activities including dory races, the “reel” race and the Pickled Parrot Tug-O-War. The All-Star Steel Band will be returning for a third year to perform during the day on Saturday the 25th, thanks to sponsorship from Chabil Mar Villas, Seaview Properties and Placencia Properties. More great entertainment and activities are planned for this year’s festival – don’t miss it! So grab the entire family and bring them down to this year’s LobsterFest; fabulous lobster dishes, fun loving people and beautiful Placencia!

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