This is a version of what information we provide our guests to Roatan. We are concerned about the well being of our reefs and marine life and hope to bring its fragile state to every ones attention.
“While visiting Roatan may be approached by charming local fisherman to buy fresh seafood, and we would like to help you make informed choices.
Why should we be concerned?
Over fishing is huge problem here on Roatan, and much of the seafood we like to eat around the Bay Islands is now affected by over fishing and poaching. If you love the ocean (which we’re guessing you do since you are here), every little contribution helps conserve this beautiful resource for years to come.
Please follow these guidelines established by the Roatan Marine Park and Coral Reef Alliance so that the reef around Roatan can proliferate and continue to be the pristine dive destination that we all love! Thank you in advance for your efforts, and enjoy your vacation!
Lobster season is from July-February, please only buy fresh lobster during this time.
Minimum tail length should be at least 5.5 inches or 14 cm, which is about the length of your palm (wrist to beginning of fingers is an easy estimate without pulling out the measuring tape). If the tail is not at least this long, it means the lobster has not had a chance to mature and reproduce, further depleting the future lobster population.
Don’t buy if you see eggs attached.
When purchasing lobster bites or soup at a restaurant, ask to see the tail before they have prepared the meal. If it is already cut in pieces, you have no way of knowing whether or not you are eating one mature lobster tail or several juveniles combined to make a dish.
Grouper and Snappers:
Snapper season is from November-January only. Closed season is to ensure that species are not fished during spawning or migration events.
It is often difficult to distinguish between grouper and snapper types because the fisherman often bring them already fileted. Because the grouper population is in dire straits, Roatan Marine Park and CORAL suggest to err on the side of caution and decline purchasing grouper altogether.
Conch populations are on the decline here, so please do not buy any from local fisherman (you may see a fisherman with a boat full of conch because they are such easy pickings). Only eat conch at restaurants, restaurants are only supposed to only buy from legally registered processing companies. PLEASE do not buy any conch shells or coral from local vendors, they will only be confiscated from your suitcase at the Roatan airport because it is against the law. Buying shells only encourages poaching as another avenue for making money off these already declining conch.”
Many Thanks to Sherri at EastEnd-Roatan.com for this article.