The much anticipated lobster fishery started August 2nd 2012 and will run until the end of February 2013. It’s a time, when fishermen and locals alike seek the “Red Gold” from the blue waters around Saint Lucia.
For the weeks leading up to the opening of the fishery local fishermen have been gearing up, building and repairing lobster pots in anticipation. Fishermen, hotels and restaurants look forward to the opening of the long awaited fishery since Caribbean spiny lobsters (Panulirus argus), are a favourite among tourists and a high priced fishery, which generates income fueling the local economy.
Caribbean spiny lobsters inhabit tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. This nocturnal species inhabits coral reefs where they hide during the day in crevices under ledges. They grow to about 60 cm in length and lack the large pinching claws of their Maine lobster relatives. Their primary defense is the spines that cover their shell, which help protect them from predators.
These lobsters have a striped body, brown-gray in color with yellow spots on the segmented tail. They also have compound eyes which can detect orientation, form, light, and color. When startled, these lobsters will kick their large abdominal tails rapidly to swim away backwards to safety.
Throughout the lobster fishery, many hotels, restaurants and individual consumers purchase the lobster which the fishers bring in. Also, at the Dennery, Anse La Raye and Gros Islet fish frys venders cook Houma (lobster) in a variety of ways that excites our taste buds.
However, in addition to the preparations for the opening of the lobster fishery, all fishermen, purchasers and consumers are reminded of the regulations that must be followed to ensure there remains a productive supply of lobster for years to come.
1. Ensure you inspect the lobster before you land or purchase it. It must be released if it does not meet the regulations.
2. The lobster must not be carrying eggs
3. The lobster must not have a carapace length less than 9.5 (9 ½ ) cm
4. The lobster should not have a soft shell and should not show evidence of being speared or hooked. A speared or hooked lobster would have a cracked shell or a hole in the shell.
While engaged in the lobster fishery, fishers should take the time to learn and comply with the governing regulations, because if found with illegal lobsters you can be fined up to EC $5,000.
ENJOY THE HOUMA TODAY AND TOMORROW – OBEY THE FISHERIES REGULATIONS!