Sunday, June 16, 2024

Stone Crab season goes into effect in July 2023; only licensed fishers allowed to fish

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On August 16th, the Belize Fisheries Department and the Ministry of the Blue Economy announced new legislation to implement the country’s first-ever season for the Florida Stone Crab. The closed season was set from July 1st to September 30th, mandating that no stone crab fishing was supposed to occur. Several fishers protested that they were not aware of this new law. On Thursday, August 25, the Fisheries Department issued an update that the closing season would not go into effect until 2023. In the meantime, only licensed stone crab fishers can continue fishing. In addition, the department will be planning for licensing stone crab traps in Belize City, Caye Caulker, and San Pedro Town next month.
The Fisheries Department clarified that issuing licenses to harvest the Florida Stone Crab will only be available for traditional crab fishers. The department will make further announcements in the future when non-traditional stone crab fishers may apply.
Location and dates for stone crab licensing
Fishing licenses for stone crab traps will be issued in San Pedro on September 9th at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve facilities on Caribeña Street. Of importance is that this service will be available from 9AM to 2PM only.
In Caye Caulker, the Fisheries Department will be issuing stone crabs licenses on September 8th at the island’s community center from 9AM to 4PM. while in Belize City and other communities, they can apply anytime now at the department’s office on Princess Margaret Drive.
To learn more about this regulation and all details, review the Statutory Instrument No. 108 of 2022 at https://bit.ly/3QRVpOx
Fisherfolks in San Pedro and Caye Caulker welcomed this update on the new legislation. Stone crab plays a significant role in the gastronomy of San Pedro. Chef Jennie Staines, a vivid advocate for stone crab conservation, serves crab claws at the iconic Elvi’s Kitchen restaurant in downtown San Pedro. According to her, it is one of the best sellers in their seafood choices. She thanks the authorities for implementing a season, a positive move she lobbied for.
For any questions about this new regulation, contact the Belize Fisheries Department at telephone number 224-4552 or by email [email protected].

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