NFA urges declaration of lobster possession by April 7 Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is reminding Jamaicans to declare their possession of spiny lobsters by April 7.

Between April 22 and June 30, 2024, it will be illegal for anyone to have any species of the spiny lobster, or the crustacean’s parts or products in their possession without special permission.

NFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Gavin Bellamy, in a statement said persons are prohibited from harvesting lobsters during the close season, which officially began on April 1.

“You may consume, sell [or] give away lobster for the first 21 days of the close season. But you must, by the 7th of April, declare that you have legally caught lobsters in your possession,” he said.

The close season exists to enable the sector’s sustainability, by giving lobsters a chance to breed and repopulate.

Whether the spiny lobster is fresh, frozen, or in any other state, all such and/or by-products may be seized and persons or entities deemed liable will be prosecuted under the Fisheries Act, 2018, and attendant regulations.

Meanwhile, persons may seek special permission for storage of any spiny lobster or spiny lobster products during the period April 22 to June 30, 2024.

These products would have to be declared as lawfully fished before the commencement of the close season, where the aim is to make the lobster available for the domestic or export markets

“If you are not going to consume or dispose of all the lobsters in your possession by April 15, you need to apply to the NFA to get permission to store this lobster until July 1, 2024,” Dr. Bellamy said.

This request should be sent to the NFA by April 15. Requests should describe the product being stored – whole, tailed, or meat; a statement or intent that the product will be stored, sold overseas, or exported; and bear the name and address of the intended approved storage facility, accompanied by a valid export license.

The applicant will have no access to the lobsters in storage until July 1, 2024, when a formal release from an approved or authorised facility is granted by a Fishery Inspector.

For details, contact the National Fisheries Authority at 876-948-9014.