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Central America begins ban to protect lobster

February 27, 2021

Countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic on Monday will begin a ban to protect the Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus), threatened by overfishing, a specialized regional body reported Saturday.

On March 1, “the twelfth simultaneous regional closure” of the spiny lobster begins in the eight member countries of the Central American Integration System (Sica), announced the Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector of the Central American Isthmus (Ospesca) in a release.

The ban covers the Caribbean coast of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

El Salvador does not have a coastline in the Caribbean, but it will contribute to the ban by prohibiting the sale of lobster.

“For four months, until June 30, 2021, the capture, processing, storage, transport, sale or export of lobster is prohibited,” the statement said.

The closure, according to Ospesca, is to “protect the period of greatest reproduction” of the species to guarantee its future availability.

Ospesca urged industrial and artisanal fishermen, marketers, processing companies and the general public to comply with the regulations that have allowed the species to recover.

Lobster is one of the most coveted species on the market, where it reaches prices of up to more than $20 per kilo.

With the regulations, which have been applied since 2010, lobster exports have recovered with an average of 4,989 tons, higher than the 3,423 tons reached in 2009.

Central American lobster exports generate more than $350 million per year.

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