Categorized | National News

Fishermen Warned: Crawfish Season Closed

The Department of Marine Resources has advised that the closed season for capturing crawfish, which started on April 1 and will run through to July 31, is in full effect.

In a statement released over the weekend, the department said that during this period it is an offense for anyone to take, capture or have their possession, kill or offer for sale, any fresh or live crawfish without the written permission of the minister.

“People possessing crawfish trapping permits, crawfish exporter’s licenses and permits authorising the use of air compressors are reminded that these permits expire March 31, 2014,” the release read. “At this time all crawfish traps must be stored on land and all processors must file a report with the Department of Marine Resources stating the quantity of crawfish on hand as of April 1, 2014.”

It also explained that processors wishing to export any crawfish during the closed season are reminded that they must obtain a special permit from the Department of Marine Resources to do so.

“The utilisation of air – compressors during the period April 1 through July 31, 2014 to aid in commercial fishing is prohibited,” it read.

“Fisheries inspectors will be on alert to ensure compliance with the regulations during the closed season and violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The Department of Marine Resources requests the full cooperation of all people concerned.”

The August 2013 to March 2014 crawfish season was one of the worst seasons in 11 years for some Bahamian fisherman, according to a local fisherman.

Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance (BCFA) president Adrian LaRoda told the Bahama Journal late last year that industry had yet to hit 25 per cent of its seasonal yield.

“This is turning out to be one of the worst seasons in a long time,” he said at the time.

“We’re just not getting the product. In a season, that’s eight months, this time of year we would have already seen about a third of our yield. Countrywide, I don’t think we have gotten to 25 per cent. It’s hard out there. The chief reason is that we’re being affected by poaching. For some fishermen this is the worst season in 11 years. We’re just not yielding the product.”

CARICOM’s Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN), in a bulletin last year on the region’s crawfish industry and trade volumes, noted that The Bahamas was its “top exporting member state” based on 2009 data, accounting for 86 per cent – some $60.372 million of its total $70.2 million crawfish exports for that year -even though this nation’s prices are 20 per cent higher than the global average.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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