Two individuals were warned for intended prosecution after Department of Environment conservation officers caught them with 195 conch and four lobsters on 16 July.

The incident, which has been described as a poaching event by the DoE, happened in the Frank Sound Marine Reserve.

“This area has been protected for 30 years,” the DoE said in a post about the incident on its official Facebook page. In addition, it said both conch and lobster seasons are closed, adding to the illegality of the take the officers seized.

The DoE said the conservation officers intercepted the two suspects, both of whom were warned for intended prosecution.

The seized marine life was donated to The Pines Retirement Home.

Marine Parks boundary map for Grand Cayman. – Image: Department of Environment

Open season for conch and whelk begins 1 Nov. and runs through 30 April.

“The legal daily limit for possessing conch during the open season is five per person or 10 per boat each day, whichever is less. Only queen conch (Strombus gigas, Lobatus gigas) may be taken and no one may take – or permit another person to take, purchase, receive, offer for sale or possess – more than five conchs from Cayman waters,” DoE said in its official announcement on the 2020 open season.

As for lobster, the open season spans three months between 1 Dec. and 28 Feb. During those months, only spiny lobsters (Panulirus argus) may be taken from outside marine protected areas.

Any lobster taken must have a minimum tail length of six inches. There is a take limit during the open season of three spiny lobster per person, per day, or six spiny lobster per boat, per day – whichever is less.

The DoE is advising the public to familiarise themselves with the Marine Parks rules before entering protected areas, encouraging anyone who sees suspicious activities to call 911.

To learn more about the rules, visit the DoE website.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Please impose some serious punishment here.

    When I moved here almost 40 years ago one could jump into the North Sound and find dozens of conch.

    Keep up with the poaching and future generations will not find them at all.

  2. These people need to be named and shamed, I am sure they are habitual offenders and only a substantial jail sentence will stop them. At the same time patrols need to be stepped up, the law needs teeth.

  3. These people should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
    There is no excuse for this to be happening anymore! A few months ago some people I know witnessed two people carrying 3, 5-gallon buckets full of shelled conch off a beach area on the North Side.
    By the time they were able to report it, there was nothing that could be done.
    It’s cases like this that are causing our marine populations to plunge to numbers that they might never recover from.

  4. What does”warned” mean. Unless these people are criminally prosecuted, and punished this poaching will continue, not just by them but many others. 195 conch are not for personal consumption, they are being sold either to restaurants or by these poachers to existing customers. It is a commersical operation. DOE should get legislation to be able to track who the buyers are and prosecute them too. I have been coming to this island since 1979. It is rare now to be able to find conch and lobster. What a waste of a natural resource for which this island’s reputation depends.

  5. I sure hope these Poachers are punished. They should be perp-walked and then jailed. There is no excuse for taking any wild game out of season and over the limit. Those restrictions exist for a reason. The authorities better not go soft on crime. It isn’t working very well here in the States (NY, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, . . .).

  6. As everyone else said they should be put in jail for a couple of months to not only teach them a lesson but to be a warning to others. Also it could be that because the borders are still not open people are getting desperate