The closure of lobster fishing is from March 1 until June 30 for the Pacific coasts of Belice, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic according to Honduranian law and an Ordenance issued by the Organization for the Fishing and Aquaculture Sector of Central America (OSPESCA in Spanish acronym) of the Central American Integration System (SICA, Spanish acronym).
“The closure protects the Caribbean spiney lobster (panulirus argus) during its greatest period of reproduction,” stated the press release from the Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG) of Honduras. Only El Salvador, which does not have a Pacific coast, is exempt from this measure in Central America.
In Honduras, lobster fishing is done in a small-scale, traditional (artisanal) manner in some areas where divers go to depths that affect their health, according to human rights organizations and local fishermen. In the last 20 years tens of divers have perished from lobster fishing and some 2,500 have injured their health according to the Honduranian Misquita Association of Injured Divers.
Here in Panama, lobsters from the Caribbean coast mostly come from the Guna native population living in the Guna Yala autonomous region. It’s a delicacy that can be enjoyed in restaurants in Panama City and it is also exported. At the fish market at the end of Balboa Ave. you can find lobsters for sale that are still moving! The second floor restaurant at the fish market used to be a nice quite place to enjoy fresh seafood at a reasonable price. But word seems to have gotten out, because now it is full of visitors and you have to wait your turn to find a table. Nonetheless, if you pick an off-hour, you can enjoy a good seafood lunch for $5.00 and up.