Staying Sustainable with Seafood: Lobster Season in Belize Closes Feb 15

by Carolee Chanona
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Lobster lovers, you’ve got just over two weeks to enjoy this spiny crustacean! As fishermen scour the seafloor for this Caribbean delicacy, this is your friendly (and sustainable) reminder that Belize’s Spiny Lobster season closes on February 15, 2021. Spiny lobsters in Belize, unlike Maine lobsters in America, lack claws. Instead, their meat is in their tails. Seafood aficionados all agree: Belize’s remarkable bounty is not only delicious, but a precious treasure worth protecting. Get familiar with Belize’s seafood seasons below, thanks to these graphics from Oceana Belize!

Editor’s Note: Announced February 12, 2021, Belize moves to change the Spiny Lobster season from March 1st to June 30th in any year. Learn more here.

Lobster plays a huge role in the Belizean economy. Believe it or not, almost all the lobster caught in Belize is done by hand using traditional methods. The majority of lobster fisherman do so by free diving to the seafloor. With one deep breath, a long stick with a hook at the end is used to quickly hook the lobster before it can scuttle away. Spiny lobsters tend to love rocky areas, so this is a skill perfected over time. Not to mention, free diving for lobsters allows fishers to be selective about the lobsters that you catch, so there’s less risk of you getting undersized or oversized ones. This way, you are guaranteed to be in accordance with Belize’s fisheries regulations.

spiny lobster belize sustainable seafood

Lobsta! Photo by Kevin Quischan

The other way that lobsters are caught in Belize is with traps. Local fishermen carefully make handmade traps as tradition has taught them, bait the traps, and place in a sandy, shallow area. Once a few lobsters have fallen prey, fishers then free dive to retrieve it by pulling it up by line onto their dories or skiffs.

Asha’s Culture Kitchen’s Twisted Creole Lobster

Lobster on deck! Asha's Culture Kitchen boasts at a Lobster Fest. Photo by BTB
asha's culture kitchen pg belize toledo
The serene dock at Asha's Culture Kitchen. Photo by property
ashas culture kitchen punta gorda belize by EricCindy Noel
The interactive menu at Asha's Culture Kitchen. Photo by Cindy Noel
Recipe By Asha’s Culture Kitchen via Oceana Belize
(Serves 4)
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh onion
  • 1/4 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1 medium green pepper; finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp butter
  • 1 lb lobster diced into 1″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed coconut milk
  • complete seasoning
Directions
  1. ​Mix cilantro, onion, carrot, green pepper, garlic, salt and complete seasoning together. Use this mixture to season the lobster cubes.
  2. Heat a pot to medium heat; melt butter before adding season lobster. Simmer and stir for 3 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk, stir and simmer 4 more minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

At Asha’s Culture Kitchen, Asha and his brothers fish for most of their seafood product themselves, while following Belize’s fisheries regulations. Located in Punta Gorda, Asha’s Culture Kitchen is known for docking right at the restaurant and customers can order fresh – right off the boat. The family was born and raised exploring Belizean waters and can see the benefits of the expansive marine reserves they are blessed to enjoy down South. Read more here on how to Fish Right and Eat Right in Belize.

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