(CMR) Cayman's annual lobster season, which runs from December to February 28, starts today. However, people are being reminded that there are strict rules regarding how many lobsters and of what size can be taken.
During the season, lobster may only be taken from outside marine protected areas, and only spiny lobsters (Panulirus argus) may be taken.
Any lobster is usually required to have a minimum tail length of six inches. There is a take limit during the open season of three spiny lobster per person per day, or six spiny lobster per boat, per day – whichever is less.
In addition, anyone who takes, purchases, receives, or offers for sale, exchange or donation more than three lobster per day from Cayman Islands waters commits an offense. Anyone who possesses more than three per day or allows another person to take more than three lobster per day from Cayman waters also commits a crime.
The Law also bans the taking of lobster, and all other marine life except lionfish, while SCUBA diving. Using gloves, a spear, or a hook stick to catch lobster is also unlawful at any time. The preferred method of catching lobster is with a snare. Lobster snares, which can be purchased locally, allow users to catch lobster humanely and also allow the harmless release of any undersized lobster.
Individuals catching lobster are asked to avoid, if possible, taking females. Females can be easily identified as they have two “toes” on their hind/bottom legs nearest to the tail and will often have a black, slimy substance attached underneath them in the area between their legs.