Perpetrators urged to stop illegal harvesting of sea urchins/sea eggs

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Perpetrators urged to stop illegal harvesting of sea urchins/sea eggs

PRESS RELEASE – The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) is becoming increasingly concerned about the illegal and indiscriminate harvesting of Sea Urchins (chadon), particularly in Vieux Fort.

Evidence of this came to light after a routine visit to Maria Islands by SLNT staff on Saturday October 25th when remnants of sea urchin shells, including young ones which were useless to the poachers, were scattered on the islet’s shores.

What is even more disturbing is that poachers have become more aggressive in their activities and do not care to target the more mature animals.  The organization has received reports of the illegal act, more so leading up to creole day celebrations.

The Department of Fisheries (DOF) has advised that the Sea Urchin fishery is closed and that anyone caught either harvesting or having the sea urchins in their possession is liable to penalties under Fisheries Act Cap.7.15 of the Laws of Saint Lucia.

In addition, the public should also be aware that the waters surrounding Maria Islands is a declared marine reserve  or a  ‘no take zone’ meaning it would be illegal to fish, harvest or remove any marine flora or fauna from these waters.

The DOF made a decision to keep the Sea Urchin season closed this year after a survey revealed that the current sea urchin population had not recovered to the point of opening the fishery.

For its part, the SLNT also wants to remind the public that the Maria Islands are vested in the Trust and anyone wishing to visit or go unto the islands must first seek approval from the Trust who would ensure that a designated Officer is present for the duration of the visit.

Anyone operating outside these parameters would be contravening the laws of Saint Lucia and would be liable to applicable penalties.

The SLNT, by this statement is warning  would be perpetrators that they will be monitoring the areas more closely and will not hesitate to support the enforcement of the appropriate penalties against those who insist on engaging in these illegal acts.

The cooperation of the public is solicited by ensuring that they do not purchase any sea urchins and other regulated fishery products from poachers. The public is also encouraged to report such incidents to the Praedial Larceny Unit – 454-1931, District Police Stations, Fisheries Department – 4684147 or the SLNT 454-5014.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Realist you are not being realistic ,conservation is not a wrong thing to do ,how ever the same guys who are doing this crimes can do better and they know better ,I mean everytime is the same problem them they are the ones causing the downfall of the sea urchins

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    • i am not saying that conservation is wrong. but you are wrong in saying that these guys can do better. life is hard and there is little opportunity. its easy to judge from the outside looking in. conservation is a long term goal but it is short term solutions that put food on the table. how can you tell a man that he should not feed his children today, so that sea urchins can survive 10 years from now.

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  2. We the authorities like persons call to give information to much. If we would do more on field tours maybe we would reduce these crimes.

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  3. We are our own best enemy. Sea urchins were present just a couple feet offshore back in the day. Presently, they are found at quite a distance offshore. They are slowly disappearing like many others which have become extinct. What does it take to make people understand ?

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  4. unemployment is very high in vieux fort and poverty is rampant. people at least make a little money by harvesting the sea eggs. we cant put conservation of animals above survival of human beings

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      • you obviously have a limited vocabulary if you have to resort to calling people idiot in a discussion. they go hand in hand in the long term. but hunger must be solved in the short term. people are desperate, they have to eat, they do what they feel they must

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  5. the fisheries department& the general public needs to be more vigilant because the future generations may not get to taste this delicacy!

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  6. I can remember growing up back in the days in vieux fort when sea urchins or chadon as it was call, and was plentiful in fact i quite like the taste,, if there is a declining population then the authority should enforcement band on harvesting the chadon.

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  7. why are some lucians hard headed? DO THEY REALIZE THE CONSEQUANCES OF THEIR ACTION?NOT ONLY THAT THEY CAN BE PENILIZED BUT THE FACT THAT THESE SEA URCHIN CAN BE EXTINCTED.
    LORD GET IT THROUGHT THEIR HEAD ,, NO SEA URCHINS MEANS NO FOOD!!!

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    • LOL you're a dumbass if you re buying this nonsense. Sea urchins being abused in one little cove and they want a ban for the whole island.
      No sea urchins mean no food? My gosh! I can't live without my sea urchin bread, rice, dasheen, breadfruit, potato, flour, chicken, beef and pork. Lord help us we are dumb.
      The picture doesn't even show sea urchins. WTF!
      It's fine to have reserve areas and all and those should not be exploited but be real about the situation. One idiot decide Maria island is a gold mine and all of a sudden every sea urchin in St. Lucia at risk. I want to know how this survey was conducted and in which areas.

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