BVI News

Charter boaters unlawfully fishing lobsters after misleading publication

The Department of Conservation and Fisheries has issued a statement ordering charter boat captains and their guests to ‘cease and desist’ from harvesting spiny lobsters from the local seabed.

The statement was released this week following a publication from a local magazine that promoted the activity in the ‘Virgin Islands’.

“That is something allowed in the US Virgin Islands but they (the publishers of the magazine) didn’t expressly state that. So, I think people who saw it were figuring that it was the same thing over here in the BVI,” Acting Chief Conservation and Fisheries Officer, Kelvin Penn, told BVI News.

He said his department has since reached out to the publication for a recant which they have agreed to.

Anegada residents complain

He also said there had been a number of complaints from Anegada residents about unauthorised lobster fishing from charter boaters.

“Even if they were not complaining, the point is that it is against the law … It’s only for commercial fishing and only Belongers and BVIslanders can do it,” Penn said.

BVI fishing laws mandate that only persons with a BVI Commercial Fishing licence are allowed to engage in the activity.

The territory’s Fisheries Act provides for fines of up to $30,000 to be imposed on persons found in violation of the law.

Penn, in the meantime, also noted that certain techniques such as spearfishing are prohibited in the territory.

He added that the law limits the number of ways that persons can fish in the territory. Lobsters, for example, are to be fished using pots or traps, Penn explained.

“So, even if you get a licence to do catch lobsters, it will have to be in pots and most charter boats don’t have pots and so forth,” he said.

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  1. Anegada says:

    K—- on Anegada do it all the time with he guests on charter. No one say anything. Set of double standards for them you like and them you don’t. All talk no action.

    Like 9
    Dislike 3
    • ???? says:

      He is a belonger and BVILander, if you read the article you would see that if you have commercial fishing license and or you are a belonger or bvilander.

  2. Mr. Penn says:

    You are fighting the battle with the tool given, but it is an uphill climb the territory needs to conquer.

    The are insufficient resources of the type needed to execute patrols and inspections on the daily.

    Further, there are huge industrial fishing trawlers from Russia, China and Japan in particular who leech our waters nightly with impunity.

    The protection of our meagre resources is nothing less than a war against the powerful, dishonest and greedy.

    But, keep up the fight.

    Like 13
  3. Wendy says:

    A public annoncement and reminder followed by individual and direct notices to each and all charter companies.
    ****Enforcement is paramount.

    Like 14
  4. Brad Boynes says:

    Get nuts and enforce the law across the board from captain to cook.

    Like 13
  5. Sunsail says:

    What about them white guys who doingitdown Josiahs bay every minute them cookingthem.

    Like 3
    Dislike 7
  6. Retired says:

    Why are local lobsters so expensive in the BVI? Seems to me that the supply is inadequate for the demand. Maybe C&F should issue more ‘Commercial Fishing Licenses’ to BVI Islanders.

    Like 7
    Dislike 3
    • Fisherman says:

      First of all, lobster is expensive everywhere in the world, it’s lobster it always will be as it’s for special occasions or the rich. There’s enough fisherman fishing at a sustainable level now to keep the resource from being depleted (it doesn’t effect us so much as other islands with the way lobsters breed but it’s still important to consider)
      And then people have to actually apply for the licenses, have the boat and equipment and then finally but most importantly put in the work, which is by no means easy work!!

  7. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Get aggressive, get some balls, stop the idle talk and enforce the laws. Having no laws or not enforcing the current laws is six a one and half a dozen of the same. Clearly, the violators have no respect for and have no fear of the laws and enforcers. They see both as toothless dogs. The current approach is like a dog chasing a car; the car is caught with and then what happens—-nada. If the cost of not adhering to laws is cheaper than adhering to them, then violators will embrace the former. Put some teeth in and hurt in enforcing the laws. Stop behaving like wet noodles.

  8. Phoenix says:

    Wait- so even VIslanders with valid fishing license cannot snare a lobster to take home and eat? That’s preposterous!

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
  9. Uncle Buck says:

    Everyone does it, sadly. A lot of residents raid the local reefs for food. Every kind of fish, beautiful French angelfish, doesn’t matter it all ends up on someone’s plate. Let’s talk about the turtle harvesting that takes place here seemingly through the year! Just for your high science.

    • ???? says:

      How can this fish be French?

      People fish, not raid. Plenty to go around if it were just to feed the people who live in the BVI.

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