New fisheries regulations take effect

POSTED: 10/2/11 11:47 PM

St. Maarten – New regulations on fishing in St. Maarten’s territorial waters took effect this week based on the Visserijbesluit PB 1991, nr. 74. The rules cover fish pots, means of fishing and designates fishing grounds.

All fish pots are now required to have a mesh size of no less than 1.5” or 38 mm, have a biodegradable escape panel of at least 6” by 6” or 15 cm by 15 cm or fastened by biodegradable twine. The panel or twine must decompose after being submerged for 20 days.

Fishermen are not allowed to use drift/gill nets if they don’t have a permit and trawled drag/bottom nets are completely banned. Spear fishing with Hawaiian slings does not require a license.

It is also prohibited for people to fish with chemicals, explosives, bait consisting of the meat of marine mammals. Fishermen are also not allowed to catch conchs less than 18 cm in length, spiny lobsters with a body length less than 3.8” or 9.5 cm, carrying eggs(do not remove eggs) or moulting. The capture and killing of turtles and marine mammals is also not allowed.

Fishermen are also not allowed to fish or possess live or dead fish and other sea plants and animals that live or originate from the Man of War Shoal Marine Park. Specific coordinates are available at the Nature Foundation St. Maarten and the Fishing Desk of the Dienst Scheepvaart, which falls under the St. Maarten Maritime Authority.

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