Lobster catchers told to watch out for lionfish

| 01/12/2009

(CNS): The window of opportunity to enjoy some of the ocean’s tastiest bounty opened on Tuesday with the start of the lobster season, which lasts until February 2010. The Department of Environment (DoE) said that during the open season, the catch limit for lobster is three lobsters per person or six per boat per day, whichever is less. Lobsters caught must have a minimum tail length of six inches and only spiny lobster (P. argus) may be taken. Lobsters may not be taken from any marine protected area at any time. The DoE is also warning lobster hunters to watch out for lionfish lurking in the holes where lobsters may hide.

Furthermore, the DoE stated that no one may use a spear-gun, including Hawaiian slings, polespear, harpoons, hooksticks or any other device with a pointed end to impale, stab or pierce any marine life, but does not however include a striker, without a licence from the Marine Conservation Board.

It is also a violation of the Marine Conservation Law for persons to take any marine life alive or dead while on SCUBA, to wear gloves while diving or snorkelling in Cayman waters, and to fish with gill nets, poison or other noxious substances.

Violation of this and any of the Marine Conservation Laws is an offence carrying a maximum penalty of CI$500,000 fine and one year in jail. Upon conviction, forfeiture of the vessel or other equipment may also be ordered.

The DoE advised people to be alert for lionfish in lobster holes. “These invasive species have venomous spines that can cause painful wounds when touched. If stung, individuals should seek medical attention immediately,” the DoE said.

People may contact the DoE at 916 4271 (Grand Cayman), 926 0136 (Cayman Brac), or 926 2342 (Little Cayman) or call 911 to report violations of any marine conservation legislation. For the location of marine protected areas, rules and regulations please visit the Department’s website at www.doe.ky or reference the Island Pages in the Cayman Islands Yellow Pages.

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  1. MRS says:

    HERE WE GO AGAIN! WHY? Why, why, WHY?

    Honestly this is pure STUPIDITY! When? OH when will the DoE change this law, from THREE lobsters a day per person? Itshould not even be three per week per person.

    Let’s do the math. 3x7days=21x4weeks=84x3months=252 lobsters… TWO HUNDRED & FIFTY TWO LOBSTERS per person this season if you decide to run out there every day and nab them. Is that not INSANE?

    We are totally depleting our marine life. Is there not one person in this department that has the foresight, actually it no longer requires foresight just insight to see that we are destroying our islands marine life. STOP the insanity! And enough already about the bloody Lion fish, it was man’s stupidity that brought them here in the first place!

    • Paradise lost says:

      So we shouldn’t deplete the lobster population, but it is acceptable to allow the Lionfish to deplete the reef fish population?  Got it.  Thinking should not be optional.  

  2. Marine Nerd says:

    Believe it or not, there are physicians, divers, marine biologists and lobsterers all over the world;  not  just on Cayman.  Let your hand swell to the size of a watermelon while you wait for those medics.  I’m sure that’s what Mark Scotland would have you do.

  3. Marine Nerd says:

    DoE does a diss-service the way it has portrayed the lionfish.  While it is a highly predatory species, it only stings humans in self defense;  they don’t prey upon humans.  Lobster catchers need to fear eels far more than lionfish- I know several divemasters who have sustained major hand injuries by morays while attempting to capture a lobster.  In Indonesia I have literally dived through clouds of lionfish.  They don’t attack because they can’t swallow a human whole.  And in the case of an accidental sting the best treatment is hot water which breaks down the toxin- NOT screaming, ‘Oh, Lordy Lordy;  Someone call 911 before I die.’ 

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for that Doctor, I will trust in your infinite wisdom and careless comments.



    • Jab Jab says:

      No where does the article mention lionfish attacking anyone. But it does imply that if you stick your hand in a hole and hit one, it will hurt. Why not release such a warning for eels? Because they’re not a recent addition to our reef and so it wouldn’t be unexpected for someone sticking their hand in a hole and hitting an eel to get bit. As your dive master friends can attest to.

      These dive masters weren’t on SCUBA and in Cayman when they were pulling lobsters, were they?


    • Anon says:

      Didn’t realise that Box jellyfish could swallow a whole human either, or a Oceanic Whitetip (the latter takes a few swallows), but they still have been known to attack humans. Actually the same goes for Funnelweb spiders and scorpians

      Out of interest where do I get hot water while out on a boat before the poison starts to make me scream?

      and clouds of Lionfish, aren’t they solitary animals?

      • Marine Nerd says:

        If you ever have the opportunity to visit the places where lionfish come from, hang around a dock at sunset- they congregate en mass.  Lionfish are nocturnal, don’t mind being around one another, and go where the food is.  And yes, you can dive off the dock and snorkel with them.  Hey, I don’t have a death wish- they’re just not interested!

    • Sav/New says:

      Disservice?… I don’t see where DoE has said that the lionfish attack or prey on humans on here.. Everyone’s body is different, so if someone were stung by one you just never know how their body would react.. Hence why DoE is saying be aware/careful. Come on, don’t be a nerdy moron now.