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Lobster Season In Jamaica | by Sheree-Anita Shearer, Associate Writer
When planning a vacation to a country surrounded by water, such as Jamaica, there are some expectations you will have. For one, delicious seafood options are a given. And you would be very correct.
But there are some periods throughout the year where some seafood is unavailable. This is because it is their breeding season and it is illegal to catch them during these times.
You might be wondering why this is so? Well, it is simply to give the animals time to grow. This way, the animals aren’t caught before they are mature and we won’t risk them becoming an endangered species because they are not able to reproduce fast enough to keep up with the demand.
If you were looking forward to curried lobster on your vacation then the lobster season in Jamaica is very important information for you.
Luckily for you, yes there are. Panulirus argus, Panulirus guttatus, Justitia longimanus, Palinurellus gundlachi, Scyllarides aequinoctialis and Parribacus antarcticus are the six species in our waters.
The Panilirus Argus, more commonly known as the Caribbean Spiny lobster is the one eaten in Jamaica and can be found in various areas across the island. These lobsters can be found throughout the Caribbean as well as in North and South America.
For lobster lovers, the period between April 1st and June 30th might not be the best time to visit Jamaica as the lobster season in Jamaica is closed during that time. This period is the mating season for the creatures and so they are given the time to reproduce and mature before the season reopens in July.
Persons who have frozen lobster or lobster parts on March 31st are allowed to use it up to the 21st of April as long as it has been declared to the relevant authorities and the necessary checks are made.
The Ministry of fisheries will send a representative to check that the quantity you have declared is actually there and it is being stored in accordance with health regulations.
However, after the 21st of April, it is illegal to have lobster or lobster parts in your possession. It is also illegal to have live lobsters in any contained area during the off-season.
Lobsters unintentionally caught during the off-season in a fishing net or other fishing gear, should be returned to the sea immediately. Whether the lobster is fresh, frozen or otherwise, those found in breach will be liable for prosecution.
This is enforced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Spiny lobsters have forward-pointing spines covering their bodies to protect them from predators. The long antenna-like structures above their eyes are also used to scare predators away. The smaller antennas (antennules), sense movement and chemicals in the water. They may vary in colour from off-white to a deep red-orange.
It definitely is. Spiny Lobsters are had here jerked, grilled, curried, or in salads and soups.
The claws of a Spiny lobster are smaller in comparison to other lobsters. So while other lobsters have flesh in their claws the spiny lobster does not.
For spiny lobsters to reach maturity and the acceptable harvesting size of three inches, it takes them up to two years. They weigh as much as 15 pounds.
The most delicious lobster dishes can be had all but 3 months out of the year. So if you visit during the lobster season don’t hesitate to dig in. But if not, don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll find another seafood dish you like, we have plenty!
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