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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Ag chief: Lobster fishing in PR waters not affected by federal ban

Puerto Rico’s local lobster catch should not be affected by a federal ban on fishing for the crustaceans because it does not apply to waters within nine miles of the island’s coasts, said Agriculture Secretary Ramón González Beiró, at center.

By The Star Staff

Agriculture Department Secretary Ramón González Beiró said Sunday that lobster fishing in Puerto Rico has “no restrictions” and urged fishermen to continue commercial or recreational fishing in local waters.

On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a ban on lobster fishing in federal waters off Puerto Rico. The ban begins in waters nine nautical miles from the island, a restriction that does not affect consumption on the island, the Agriculture chief pointed out.

“Our fishermen have the green light to continue fishing in Puerto Rico’s territorial waters, as usual,” González Beiró said. “We live surrounded by salt water and that privilege positions us to sustain and continue to strengthen the fishing industry. Shellfish, and specifically lobster, are marine species preferred by consumers.”

He said the island’s local lobster catch should not be affected by the ban.

“At the moment we do not envision a shortage and on the contrary our call to all consumers is to sponsor the use of fresh seafood that is obtained in the fishing villages around the island,” González Beiró said. “We have to support our fishermen, who set sail on the high seas every day to give us 100 percent fresh and healthy food, contributing to the food security of all Puerto Ricans.”

Currently the municipalities with fishing villages open to the public are Mayagüez, Cataño, Ponce, Guayama, Arroyo, Patillas, Maunabo, Naguabo, Fajardo, Arecibo, Isabela, Loíza, Aguadilla, Humacao, Yabucoa, Rincón, Vega Baja, Vieques, Culebra, Lajas, Guánica, Salinas, Añasco, Aguada and Cabo Rojo.

The Agriculture secretary urged fishermen to comply with the regulatory provisions that seek to protect reproduction and maintain lobster supplies.

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