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Planned fisheries regs for spiny lobster deferred to next year

Next year: that’s when the new fisheries regulations relating to spiny lobster will kick in. The deferral comes in the form of an announcement issued today by the Ministry of the Blue Economy. You will remember that fishing communities, particularly in the north, vehemently opposed the Ministry of the Blue Economy’s decision to adjust regulations relating to lobster. Today, the Ministry announced that the provisions in S.I. Number 128 of 2021, including amendments to spiny lobster rules, will be implemented in a phased approach. A release from the Ministry says quote, “This strategy has become necessary given the outcomes of recent engagements with several fishing communities across the country” End quote. So that means the rules relating to lobster sizes will not come into force until next year. In the meantime, the Fisheries Department plans to continue community engagements during this year and in early 2023, to gather additional inputs and recommendations from fishers and fishers’ organizations, which will help to guide the further strengthening of lobster regulations for Belize. The decision, which again is now deferred until next year, includes amended lobster regulations that establish a new lobster carapace length of 3.25 inches, a minimum tail weight of 4.5 ounces, and a lobster trap escape gap of 2 1/8 inches. The opening of the lobster fishing season is July 1, 2022 and ends on February 28, 2023.