Lobster Size Regulations

Bay Islands have general rules and regulations to help conserve the environment but failure to enforce these laws has sadly meant that unsustainable practices continue. To combat over-fishing, a major problem throughout the islands, laws have been established in an attempt to revive fish, turtle, lobster, and conch stocks. These laws are listed below:

• Within the Reserve and throughout the Bay Islands, it is completely illegal to harvest conch. Four boats do have special “research” licenses to collect conch from the Roatan Banks, meaning that unless a restaurant has purchased their conch from these authorized suppliers, the conch on your plate is illegally harvested.

• Lobster season is between July 1st and February 28th, and only those that have permits can collect legal sized lobster (tail length greater than 14.5 cm or 5.5 inches) outside the Marine Reserve. Restaurants are supposed to sell lobster of legal size only during season and shouldn’t stock pile frozen lobster. Sadly, restaurants here primarily stock undersized tails as the majority of legal sized lobsters are exported to the US market. If you go to a restaurant where the lobster still has its head, there is a huge likelihood that it was poached from the waters in front of the restaurant.

• The use of spearguns, harpoons, and nets is prohibited throughout the Bay Islands by Honduran Law. Cast nets, are permitted as they pose a limited threat to the coral and fish. These nets target bait fish and not reef dwelling fish.

• Line fishing is permitted throughout the Marine Reserve and can be done from the shore, docks, and boats. We do discourage line fishing from shore and within the lagoon as it removes both juvenile and adult reef dwelling species.

We always appreciate people calling the office to report any issues of concern, so here is what to look for when looking out on the water for suspected illegal activity:

• People walking into the water with bags, spears, spear guns, or gaffs, or setting nets to capture fish or turtles.

• People snorkeling, duck diving and returning to the surface with objects in hand.

When you do see something out of the ordinary, please call the office on channel 16 or 445-4206/08, so we can respond accordingly.