The Fisheries Department has issued a warning for the harvesting of exotic seafood for the 2014 Jounen Kwéyòl season.
In accordance with the Fisheries Act and the Fisheries Regulations Cap 7.15 of the revised laws of St. Lucia 2008, the Department of Fisheries reminds vendors and persons who will be participating in Jounèn Kwèyòl 2014 activities that the sea egg and crayfish seasons are closed.
Recent assessments of sea egg (sea urchin) populations in Saint Lucia revealed that the numbers of sea eggs are too low to allow for a harvest, resulting in the Sea Egg Fishery remaining closed for the 2014 season.
In addition, an extended close season or moratorium remains in effect on the harvest and sale of freshwater shrimp, prawns or crayfish. The crayfish resource continues to be threatened by the illegal use of poisonous substances as a common means of harvesting.
“It is therefore illegal [for a person] to remove from the rivers of Saint Lucia, expose for sale, sell, purchase, or at any time have in his possession fresh water shrimp or crayfish, [and] to disturb, damage, harvest, have in his possession, purchase or sell sea eggs during the close season,” the Fisheries Department stated.
Persons are encouraged, instead, to purchase farmed prawns from aquaculture farmers. Farmed prawns when alive can be generally distinguished by their large blue pincers (gandi) which are not present in the wild-caught prawns.
Vendors are also asked to observe the regulations during the open Lobster Fishery.
When purchasing and selling lobsters during the open fishery period, each lobster is required to have a carapace length of 9.5 c.m. or more, and must not be carrying eggs or show evidence of having eggs removed. The lobster should not have a soft shell due to molting; nor should it be speared or hooked.
The Department of Fisheries urges all persons to adhere to the regulations and not purchase river-caught crayfish, sea eggs or lobsters that are undersized or buried, to ensure that there are lobsters, sea eggs and crayfish for generations to come, and that Saint Lucia’s fisheries resource remains healthy.