IT’S LOBSTER SEASON IN THE BAHAMAS!
For many boaters, the beginning of August is a time to look forward to. It’s lobster season once again! And for Bahamians, it usually also involves a Holiday weekend. Monday, August 5, is Emancipation Day in the Bahamas, and a legal holiday. So plan accordingly as many businesses will be closed. We at the Nassau Yacht Haven will be open our regular business hours to serve our customers.
In the Bahamas, the season currently runs from August 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020. The rules for Bahamians and visitors to our shore differ slightly. As a rule, we at the Nassau Yacht Haven encourage everyone to not only follow the rules (they are the law!) but take only what is legal and you can use immediately and let the rest of the lobsters (and other legal to capture sea life) live to be caught and eaten another day—please!
Our resources are already under constant stress from overfishing so please do what you can to be a part of the solution-not the problem.
Many of our visitors are from the Florida area—PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO AND REPECT THE SPECIFIC RULES IN THE BAHAMAS—THEY ARE DIFFERENT.
You must have a valid cruising permit obtained at a designated Port of Entry.
LOBSTER SIZE ALLOWED— BAHAMAS—3 3/8 inch carapace length
US/FLORIDA—3 inch carapace length
Please measure carefully!
BAG LIMIT—6 per person on vessel. Not per day. Total. Keep track of how many lobsters you have on board. It does not matter how many days you are in the Bahamas. This is a per person per vessel limit—period.
NO SCUBA GEAR MAY BE USED IN THE TAKING OF LOBSTER IN BAHAMIAN WATERS
Use of Hawaiian Sling or Spear Pole only.
No egg bearing lobsters may be taken or harmed. It is the law, but seriously, leave the mom lobsters to do their jobs and make some more lobsters for next season.
Watch where you are spearing: No lobster (or any sea life!) may be removed from designated national park waters, or within 1 mile of shore around New Providence (Nassau) or the south side of Grand Bahama (Freeport). Nor within 200 yards of the coastline in the Out Islands. Check your location.
Although we are writing this with what is current today, the rules can and do change without notice, so be sure to go online and check current regulations prior to heading out to catch those lobsters. Best place to check is:
Department of Marine Resources
Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources
P.O. Box N-3028
For vessels returning to Florida waters, there are some special rules just for you. It is legal to take legally harvested lobster with you back to Florida (and other parts of the US and world). However, here is a brief listing of rules and regulations for harvesting lobster in The Bahamas and for returning to U.S. with your catch.
Please check with the appropriate agencies to confirm what is current the day you are travelling and where you are travelling to.
As of writing this, because lobster season will not be open in Florida until the 6th of August. Keep in mind you cannot enter Florida waters with lobsters legally caught in the Bahamas while the Florida season is closed. Even when it is legal to do so (when season opens in Florida) you must have the lobster in whole condition (head and tail intact), not just the tail.
If you are flying back with your catch, we suggest contacting your air carrier and/or the US Fish and Wildlife Service for any regulations regarding the transport of lobster, fish or conch. There are special rules for all, and special documentation may be required. Ask first.
We hope this helps give you some guidance while enjoying the warm, clear waters that make up our beautiful Bahamas. Please inquire in our office at the Nassau Yacht Haven if we can assist with specific questions. If we don’t know, we can help you find out.
Stay safe, have fun, and enjoy your time boating in the Bahamas!