Let’s Talk About Lobsters
As of this writing, we are right in the middle of a lobster ban in the Dominican Republic. Due to a combination of factors including overfishing and poaching, Caribbean Spiny Lobsters need time to repopulate, which is why we do not fish or purchase them during their mating season. Of course, we do this because it is the right thing to do and it helps guarantee we will be able to enjoy lobster for years to come. It is also, however, the law.
The Lobster Ban was established by the Dominican Agriculture and Fisheries Council under Decree 119-12 of national law 307-4 and prohibits capturing or purchasing any Dominican lobster from March 1 to June 30, the mating season for the Spiny Lobster. Anyone caught violating this ban can face harsh penalties including jail time and fines, which means that it is not worth buying or capturing Spiny Lobsters this time of the year.
Moreover, Puntacana is trying to do our part as well to help save the Caribbean Spiny Lobster. In 2008 the Partnership for Ecologically Sustainable Coastal Areas (PESCA) began a project that would create lobster houses to sustainably farm local populations of Caribbean Spiny Lobsters. Here’s how it works: these little houses are made of concrete and naturally attract lobsters. Fishermen are then able to easily capture the lobsters that have been lured into the houses without disturbing the reef. As part of the agreement between PESCA and the local fishermen, the fishermen are allowed to use the lobster houses as long as they do not violate the ban on fishing from March 1 to June 30. They are also required to return any lobster with eggs to the reef.
While this was just a pilot program in 2008, it was so successful that Puntacana Foundation has since received a grant from Fundación Ademi to continue work on this project. Our hope is that lobsters will be sustainably harvested and we will be able to lessen the impact of overfishing on the Caribbean Spiny Lobster in Dominican Republic.
To recap: if you are on the island between March 1 and June 30, do not capture or purchase any Dominican lobsters. It is not worth risking a fine, and it is certainly not worth risking permanent damage to the ecosystem. The good news is that imported lobster is perfectly fine, and we have plenty of it at the resort.
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