Excessive conch, lobster in Sister Islands passenger coolers leads to bust

Feb 05, 2019 Crime

The Department of Environment is warning fishermen to adhere to seasonal conch and lobster limits after a 28 January bust at Owen Roberts International Airport. Acting on a tip that passengers were returning from the sister islands with conch and lobster in excess of possession limits, Customs and Border Control agents along with DOE conservation officers conducted searches on a number of passengers. The DOE said five individuals from a total of three flights were warned for prosecution, and several others were given verbal warnings after large amounts of conch and lobster were found in coolers. "It’s a common practice to go over, there is abundant marine life, it is a little bit easier to catch there in Little Cayman, and then they bring back some of their catch," said DOE Chief Conservation Officer Mark Orr. "Like I said, it’s just a simple matter that they’ve got to be more careful with the possession and adhering to the daily limits for each type of marine life that they’re bringing back." This follows a 19 January incident where 54 fish and lobster caught by spear gun were seized. The DOE told Cayman 27 the spear gun was licensed, but the licensee violated other conservation law regulations. "Each person with a license is only allowed three fish per day, they had 54 fish and lobster with them. They were shooting outside the reefs, that part is legal, but like I said, way over the limit, and he was also in breach of his license conditions, one of those is that you cannot lend or give your speargun to another person, it has to be you using it," said Mr. Orr. The daily, per-person, catch or possession limit for lobster is three in the open season. For queen conch, it's five per person, per day. Lobster season ends 28 February and conch season is open through 30 April.