Bermuda is implementing new lobster fishing regulations
Bermuda has implemented several new regulations to protect the territory’s lobster population.
During lobster season, which traditionally lasts from September 1 through March 31, the 22 currently licensed spiny lobster fishermen in the Territory will be allowed to set eight traps per license, and there is a maximum individual catch of 600 lobster for the season.
Interior Minister Walter Ruban said that traps may only be placed in offshore areas from September 1 to November 30 to “reduce pressure on nearshore areas”.
Recreational lobster diver licenses have been reduced to 175.
Ruban said the changes to lobster fishing regulations in Bermuda are due to a prolonged period of below-average catches.
“While I understand and appreciate that, in our culture, lobster dinners are a highly prized meal and an eagerly anticipated addition to restaurant menus during lobster season…the extended period of below-average catch rates in lobster fisheries indicates the need for Take immediate action “To enable the future sustainability of the fishery, the Government of Bermuda is developing steps and a program to rejuvenate the lobster fishery,” he said.
Ruban highlighted that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had been concerned about local spiny lobsters in Bermuda for several years because of the low catch rate.
Bermuda’s catch per unit effort (CPUE) is well below the 20-year average of 2.33 lobsters per catch. In addition, the number of small lobsters caught has also decreased in recent years.
The minister said that while the exact reason for the decline in lobster numbers is not known, The Caribbean spiny lobster has a complex life cycle that requires suitable environmental conditions and adequate food.
Ruban stated that any mismatch could reduce the supply of baby lobsters to replenish Bermuda’s adult population.
Ruban continued, “These decisions are intended to help the lobster population. We recognize the fact that members of our commercial fishing industry depend on seasonal lobster catches as an important supplement to income, and we want to ensure that commercial lobster fishing remains economically viable.” But despite our best efforts to meet everyone’s needs, I appreciate that we cannot please everyone, and some will be disappointed with these decisions. However, it would be irresponsible not to act now, as any further reduction in lobster populations could exacerbate the problem. And future recovery efforts are even more difficult.”
The minister urged islanders to support the government’s efforts to protect the lobster population to avoid Bermuda’s dependence on imported products.