Lobster farmers get extension on use of Styrofoam coolers

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Lobster farmers in Antigua and Barbuda have received a six-month extension to continue using a product which is integral to their business, but made from Styrofoam.
As a result they will be allowed to use Styrofoam coolers to export their lobsters until June 30th, 2019, and after this period they are expected to transition to the use of a more environmentally friendly alternative.
The extension follows a recent consultation between lobster farmers, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Molwyn Joseph, and Environment Implementation Coordinator, Indira James-Henry.
During the consultation, the farmers were asked about the challenges they face as a result of the ban on the Styrofoam coolers. The group told the minister of their concerns about regulations set by airlines regarding the type of containers in which lobsters are exported and whether the alternative would be accepted.
The other concern was the cost of the other options and their durability throughout the long hours of travel. They reported that lobsters are exported as far as
Europe, Hong Kong and China, a journey that sometimes takes 34 hours to complete.
In response, Minister Joseph indicated his willingness to work with the lobster farmers by granting the extension so that their trade is not interrupted.
In addition to the extension, the Fisheries Division will be responsible for purchasing the Styrofoam coolers, while establishing an identification system. This will ensure that all coolers are accounted for at all times, thereby reducing circulation in the local market. They have also agreed to use standardized sizes of boxes as another way of accountability.
Environment Implementation Coordinator, Indira James-Henry, also indicated to the farmers that a suitable sustainable alternative
has been identified in keeping with the ministry’s initiative.

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