The Fisheries Division in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries wishes to advise the public that the annual Close Season for spiny lobsters commences on April 1 and ends on June 30, 2018.
The Fisheries Division wishes to further remind the public that new Regulations governing the Close Season for spiny lobsters are in effect. These Regulations stipulate that any person or entity planning to have spiny lobsters/spiny lobster parts or products either for storage, sale or other purposes during the Close Season must take note of the following provisions:
- A signed Declaration (official letter) is mandatory for any person or entity that wishes to have in their possession spiny lobsters or parts thereof during the Close Season. All persons having lobsters in their possession must declare within 7 days of the close season, that is, on or by April 7, 2018. This declaration shall include the quantity (in kilograms), description (that is whether whole lobsters or tails only, and so on) and the address where the spiny lobsters or products are being stored. A Fishery Inspector will visit disclosed locations to verify the spiny lobsters/spiny lobster parts or products in storage and issue a certificate of inspection.
- The law provides during a limited time between April 1 and April 21, 2018 for all spiny lobsters in possession or storage which have been declared to the Licensing Authority to be lawfully sold, exported or processed. Except for persons described in point 3 below, no person or entity shall have any spiny lobster or its products in their possession after April 21, 2018 and therefore should exercise due diligence in purchasing and storing spiny lobsters and its products to ensure their timely and full utilization by April 21, 2018.
- A licensed fisherman may seek special permission for storage for the period April 22, 2018 to June 30, 2018 of any spiny lobster or spiny lobster products which has been declared and is lawfully fished before the commencement of the Close Season, where it is their desire to make such lobster available for sale, export or processing, after the end of the said Close Season. This request must be sent to the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and copied to the Licensing Authority on or by April 15, 2018. The Application must describe:
- the product being stored (example whole, tailed, or meat etc.).
- include a declaration of intent that such spiny lobster or its products will be sold/exported/processed at the end of the Close Season.
- state the name and address of the intended approved storage facility and be accompanied by a valid export licence (where applicable).
Note that the applicant will have no access to the lobsters in storage until July 1, 2018 when a formal release from an approved or authorized storage facility is granted by the authorities.
- Between APRIL 22 and JUNE 30, it is illegal for anyone to have any species of spiny lobsters/spiny lobster parts or products in their possession WITHOUT SPECIAL PERMISSION. Note that whether the spiny lobster is fresh, frozen or otherwise is irrelevant and all such spiny lobsters or products will be seized and person(s) or entities found liable will be prosecuted under the law.
- Fishing for spiny lobsters during the Close Season is illegal and, in addition, no spiny lobsters are to be held alive during the Close Season in any holding device. However spiny lobsters unintentionally captured in fishing gear must be immediately returned to the water, free, alive and unharmed.
- All lobsters that are found to carry eggs and / or spiny lobsters that have not reached the minimum size of 7.62 cm or (3 inches) measured from the eyes to the end of the carapace (back not including the tail) are illegal throughout the year and will continue to be enforced by the Police, Fishery Inspectors, Game Wardens and other law enforcement officers.
- Spiny lobsters that are found in contravention to the relevant provisions referred to at paragraphs (1) to (6) above are liable to be seized and persons found in breach may be prosecuted in a Court of Law.
- Please submit declarations and applications for storage to:
MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY, COMMERCE, AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES,
2c Newport East, P.O. BOX 470,
KINGSTON 11, JAMAICA, W.I.
Tel: (876) 948-9014, 948-6933 or 967-2081
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Any queries or request for further information may be directed to a Fisheries Officer of the Fisheries Division at the contacts listed above or you may visit the website: www.micaf.gov.jm