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.
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.