Cap Of 500 Recreational Lobster Diver Licences

August 17, 2017 | 20 Comments

Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown announced a cap on the number of recreational lobster divers for the 2017-2018 season, which opens September 1, 2017, saying the “number of licences will be capped at 500, approximately the same number of divers licensed for the 2016-17 season.”

“Divers who held a licence during the past 2016-17 season can be relicensed but must submit their catch data for the 2016-2017 season before they can renew. These lobster diver licences will be issued on a first come, first served basis. Licences will also be issued to first time recreational lobster divers until the cap is reached,” the Ministry said.

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“Bermuda’s lobsters are a resource shared between both the commercial fishermen and recreational lobster divers. Although commercial fishers operate in both deep and shallow water, the recreational divers can only catch lobsters in areas shallow enough for free-diving.

“While deepwater commercial catches have remained stable, catches from traps in shallow areas have been declining over the last four seasons in terms of both the total number of lobsters caught and also the number of lobsters caught per trap. The catch per trap is a standard measure that is an indication of the crustacean’s abundance.

“The Marine Resources Board and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources are concerned about the long term health of Bermuda’s lobster population, particularly in the shallow areas closer to shore. Additional data from recreational divers will allow a more complete picture of current lobster stocks, and inform regulations for coming seasons.

“The Minister, while recognizing the importance of gathering data from recreational lobster divers, acknowledged that the April deadline to submit catch data was a new requirement and that some divers may not have noted this change in the conditions of their licence.

“This coming season, strict compliance is expected and fishers must report their season’s catch by April 30, 2018. Lobster divers will be expected to sign the 2017-18 terms and conditions document to indicate their commitment to abide by this deadline and the other terms and conditions.

Minister Brown added, “Going forward, I want to have broader consultation on the issue, and I encourage the formation of a lobster diver association to facilitate this.

“The number of lobster divers allowed in the fishery next season will be decided in consultation with stakeholders after an analysis of the 2017-2018 data. As Minister, I will consider proposed amendments to our fishery parameters, if any are required, in order to ensure a healthy fish stock.”

For more information on recreational lobster fishing licenses visit here.

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Comments (20)

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  1. Clarity says:

    The lobsters are a resource that belongs to all of us, not just the commercial and recreational lobster killers. Many of us expect there to be living lobsters out on the reef carrying out their lobsterly duties, and expect the Government to maintain the fishery in a manner that allows a sustainable population to exist in the ocean too, not just on dinner plates.

  2. Bill says:

    “While deepwater commercial catches have remained stable, catches from traps in shallow areas have been declining over the last four seasons in terms of both the total number of lobsters caught and also the number of lobsters caught per trap. The catch per trap is a standard measure that is an indication of the crustacean’s abundance.
    The problem is they are bringing in the traps too early in the season. Divers had trouble finding the lobsters last year and the reason is the traps are catching the bigger inshore lobsters which are normally the breeders.

  3. Izzypop says:

    Long over due. Should shut down lobster season for one year.

  4. sage says:

    Ban shallow water pots used by commercial fishermen. Stop eating them too.

  5. Dog says:

    Ugh all this fuss for the cockroach of the sea and it aint even a lobster its a crawfish

  6. Jahpaw says:

    I think that
    Locals an locals only should be allowed to get a license.. ..

    • warwick pond skink says:

      Was waiting for a clever response like that one!! Why stop there … only local can eat the things as well! But of courseas we are a fairand equitable nation only expats can eat lamb, beef, chicken and fish that have been imported.
      This should include tourist, that way we can show the world we really are truely Bermuda for Bermudians!!

  7. puzzled says:

    Well it quite simple really.
    Deep waters catches are what they are.
    Not many go out that deep and pull pots. Plenty out there and they are being harvested.Shallow water/s as described is not like on a beach.

    Swimmers and divers can afford to do this shallow as it’s just a snorkel or a breath of air; and they are cleaning them out like the Lion Fish.

    I give up.

  8. Wow says:

    Well done Minister Brown. We look forward to consultation.

  9. Jacques Cousteaux says:

    Just make sure you don’t catch crabs down there!

  10. Neil B. Formee says:

    I breed and grow mine own so…. I will eat as many as I wish!
    Whenever I want!
    I am thinking of opening my own fresh fish shop with organic wines menu!

  11. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    With a population like bermudas…how many divers or pots are there..? It is far beyond my ability to grasp the notion that bermuda over fishes the Atlantic Ocean…unless we’re secretly harvesting these cockroaches of the sea and exporting by the thousands…If the numbers are that scarce…then it’s because of a situation beyond our control…

    • wondering says:

      Lobstering is big business.

      Ask the fishermen what market price is.. ….

  12. Pisces Girl says:

    Out of 618 registered divers last season they only claimed to catch 2000 lobsters all season. I call bull.

    • Nikon says:

      EVERYONE KNOWS ITS BULL…maybe those POT HEADS at Ag and Fish should come out of their stupor and do their effin job….

  13. Coffee says:

    I was sitting on Nellie’s walk yesterday morning and saw ….

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