Enthusiasm high as usual for start of lobster season

Fresh Catch — Fishermen caught some 6,500 pounds of lobster on opening day. Lobster season officially opened Wednesday (August 1). (Photos by Clement Campbell)

The Lobster season officially began on Wednesday (August 1).

Bahamas Department of Marine Resources Assistant Superintendent of Fisheries (ASF) Clement Campbell said here was the usual enthusiasm in the fishing industry.

On Tuesday, he informed The Freeport News that there were approximately 25 boats out on the opening day.
“The catch from West Grand Bahama was some 6500 pounds due to the high winds and choppy seas. Normally the amount on opening day would have been up to 15,000 pounds, but this week should be better,” said.

Campbell advised that fishermen and other residents to be aware and constantly mindful of the rules and regulations of the season.

“The bag limit for lobster season is six. You may never have more than this amount on your boat, regardless of how many days you’re in The Bahamas.

With regards to the sizes of the lobsters, Campbell informed that all must be above five and a half inches long or larger.

Campbell furthered the person in charge of a vessel engaged in fishing for crawfish, shall ensure that the vessel carries a measuring gauge of a type capable of determining the size for the purpose of that regulation.

“Fisherman must possess a valid Bahamas cruising permit anytime you are on board your boat or in water when not on a dock, obtained at a designated Port of Entry.

“Spearing legal lobster is legal in The Bahamas. Persons may only us a pole spear or Hawaiian sling. Scuba gear cannot be used while taking lobster.

“No person shall take, capture, destroy or kill any crawfish by means of trapping, which is referred to as crawfish trapping.

“Also egg-bearing lobsters are protected.

“Any lobsters harvested in The Bahamas during the open season cannot be transported by private vessel into state waters during Florida’s closed season.

“Lobsters brought back to Florida must be in whole condition.

“When transporting by air to any U.S. destination, you should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for regulations regarding transport of lobsters, fish and conch.

“It should be noted that rules and regulations are subject to change at any time. To check for any changes with the Bahamas Department of Marine Resources, persons can visit their website at https://www.bahamas.gov.bs,” disclosed the GB fisheries chief.

Lobster season ends March 31. The closed season lasts from April 1 to July 31 each year.

“During the closed season no person shall fish or have in his or her possession any live or fresh crawfish without first having obtained the written permission of the Minister of Agriculture and Marine or unless he or she has bought the crawfish from a holder of such a permit,” said Campbell, being more detailed.

He informed of an area of concern, fishermen catching lobster out of season. He said that it has been discovered that lobster can be found being served out of season. He advocates restaurants refrain from putting lobster on their menus during the closed season.

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