A conservation programme intended to protect the Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) has received funding in the amount of just under US$800,000. Belize, The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are among the countries that are to take part in the conservation effort:
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) will provide USD 796,296 to implement a program of protection for the spiny lobster promoted by the Central American Integration System (SICA).
According to the coordinator of the Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector of Central America (Ospesca), Mario González Recinos, the United Nations funds will allow them to consolidate this project which began two years ago.
It is also expected that aid in Central America will be most beneficial to Caribbean countries.
The Dominican Republic, Colombia, Bahamas and Jamaica will be added to the program soon, while “Brazil has sent an expression of interest to join” as well as other Caribbean islands, the official said.
The plan is likely to unify criteria concerning the lobster fishery in the region and establish a fishing ban in 2010.
In this context, from 1 March through 30 June this year, the catching and marketing of spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) was banned in Caribbean waters, in order to protect the species from overexploitation.
“Instead of seeing an increase in the resource, it actually gradually began to decrease, and one of the conclusions reached was that the national measures were not working. Our job was to create a regional policy and establish a harmonic measure for all the countries,” said González Recinos.
The lobster fishery in the Caribbean regionally generated nearly USD 300 million per year and “the number of jobs exceeds 60,000,” he added.
For more information read the complete press release at Fish Information and Services.
In May this year, the WWF expressed their approval of the Spiny Lobster fishing ban, which was instituted during the species reproductive season, in order to allow population regrowth. The WWF is working with fisheries stakeholders in The Bahamas to have the lobster fishery there certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.