Suggestion to delay lobster closed season until after Caribana

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The minister of Agriculture and Barbuda Affairs said that several stakeholders in Barbuda’s Caribana have suggested that the May 1 to June 30 closed season on lobster be tweaked to accommodate the annual festival.
“I have been approached by persons who have been directly connected to the Caribana that we should actually try to see if there is any way we can try to change the date back, and I did not totally rule that out. It is an issue I will discuss with my Cabinet,” Arthur Nibbs told OBSERVER media yesterday.
Nibbs also said that lobster is one of the biggest attractions to the sister isle and believes that discussing it with Cabinet should be an option.
“People come to Barbuda to enjoy the spiny lobster and Caribana is our only annual event so there is much merit in the request from the Caribana lovers that we should try to even move the date back and that is an issue I consider taking to the Cabinet and to discuss with the Chief Fisheries Officer.
“It lasts just a little over four or five days and I don’t think five days of utilising that resource can put a dent in the fisheries resource negatively.”
While Nibbs indicated that he is willing to discuss the time frame of the ban, he maintains that people should be law-abiding citizens.
“The law is the law,” he said. “The closed season is the closed season so the people responsible for policing it should just go out there and do their jobs. We cannot have people defying the rules and regulations like that and this is not the first year, so I am surprised that these things are happening.”
Recently, many people commented on a photo circulating on Facebook of what appears to be a local restaurant serving lobster after the May 1 to June 30 ban came into effect. Social media users were very concerned and said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries should be contacted.
The minister also reminded the public that while he is open to the suggestion, patrons should not be consuming the seafood.
“I wasn’t aware that it’s out there on social media but if they are breaking the law they should cease. Antigua & Barbuda is one state, there is no different law, the Fisheries law that binds Antigua stretches over to Barbuda,” Nibbs said yesterday.
Environmentalist Martin Dudley believes that one way to curb the illegal sale of lobster is to inspect restaurants and urge them not to keep the lobsters in their freezers.

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