Haul: The former owner and manager of Tom Moore’s Tavern, Mr Rutherford, left, and fisherman, Mr Richardson, are pictured with a horse drawn trolley loaded with Bermuda spiny lobsters, c 1950S *Photo courtesy of NAtional museum
Haul: The former owner and manager of Tom Moore’s Tavern, Mr Rutherford, left, and fisherman, Mr Richardson, are pictured with a horse drawn trolley loaded with Bermuda spiny lobsters, c 1950S *Photo courtesy of NAtional museum
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The island’s lobster stocks are in good shape as fishermen and divers took to the water again this week for the start of the new season.

This according to experts who monitor the lobster catch each year and regulate lobster catching across Bermuda.

And although the number of recreational licenses issued has dropped over recent years the number of lobsters that end up on plates across the island has remained pretty constant.

Commercial fisherman plucked more than 36,642 lobsters from the seabed between the start of September 2012 and the end of March 2013

This was a slight drop from the 37,323 Caribbean and Guinea Chick lobsters caught by fisherman the year before.

Marine experts say that recreational fishers account for around 2,000 lobsters each year and that the latest figures suggest Bermuda’s lobster population is in a healthy condition.

Senior Marine Resources Officer, Tammy Trott told the Bermuda Sun that lobster fishing remains a ‘lifeblood’ for many older fishermen during the winter.

She said: “We have noticed that the average size of lobster caught has remained pretty constant in recent years.

“We look at the number of lobsters put back in the ocean because they are under the legal size as well as landing figures.

“All the information we have suggest the lobster stock is quite healthy and fortunately we have not had a problem for some time.”

This year, 29 commercial licenses have been issued to fisherman who are then provided with 12 traps each, which must be brought up to the surface at least once a week.

While a further 400 private recreational licenses have also been handed out by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Dr Trott urged islanders to ensure they purchased lobsters from fishermen with commercial licenses.

She added: “The number of commercial licenses has remained the same but we have seen a drop in the number of recreational licenses being applied for over the last few years.

“This could be because the licensing price deterred some people, or because a lot of the foreign workers that liked to dive have left the island.

“Recreational licenses reached a peak of over 600 in 2008-2009.

“And although 400 is quite low I would expect this number to increase during the season.” 

To find out more about the regulations surrounding lobster fishing visit the Department of Environmental Protection’s marine resources site.