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Great start to lobster season, market price strong, says fisheries minister

Spiny lobster fisherman do not expect global shipping issues and pricing problems to affect this year’s season, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Clay Sweeting told Guardian Business, though he admitted that fuel costs have been a challenge for fishermen.

Sweeting said the season has gotten off to a “great” start, as fishermen continue to monitor the price on the global market.

He explained that there are a number of factors that have contributed to a positive start to the season, including the assistance of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF). 

“The RBDF has continued to perform extremely well in patrolling the waters and we look forward to their continued support to protect the industry,” said Sweeting.

“Protection against foreign poaching has plagued our fisherman for years, and we are finally seeing the benefit in investing in the equipment that is needed to protect our waters.

“The ‘above average’ price of lobster has also played a factor during last season in solidifying a successful season, and it seems to be remaining steady for the start of the season.”

He added that he hopes a settling in the cost of fuel will allay added costs piled on by global inflation.

President of the Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance Adrian LaRoda said last year that the COVID-19 pandemic did not have as devastating an impact on the crawfish industry as was projected.

He said sales last year were on par with previous years, given that fishermen were able to make up for lost time with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Bahamian fishers typically capture about 3.5 million pounds of lobster.

Sweeting, who was once a lobster fisherman, said the 2022 season is so far looking like another boon for the sector.