Riviera Maya, Q.R. — Bad weather has kept lobster fishermen from Chiquilá and Holbox on land even though the season has officially begun. On July 1, lobster season opened for local fishermen, however, heavy rains and strong winds have prevented them from heading out to sea.
William Aguinaga Chay, President of the Federation of Fishing Cooperatives in the North Zone said they are hoping for a good season of catch as well as good prices, which he says, could exceed 500 peso per kilo.
“The hope is that the price exceeds 500 pesos per kilo, which would provide an economic relief for more than 500 fishermen from Chiquilá and Holbox,” he said. Aguinaga Chay added that they can catch lobster until February, but “due to weather conditions and poaching we don’t know how much we can catch,” referring to fishermen from Yucatan illegally fishing in Quintana Roo waters.
“Let’s hope that the weather improves next week and we can fish with the hope of improving the living conditions of fishermen since this year, it has been very bad for the sector,” he said.
José Ángel Canto Noh, president of the Cozumel Fishing Cooperative pointed out that there are good expectations this year, with an estimated catch of 40 tons and a price goal twice that of last year. Despite this, bad weather has the port closed, which will mean lost time.
He pointed out that due to the pandemic and the closure of the Chinese market, the price of lobster plummeted to the extent that they ended up selling at 200 peso per kilo. This year, he says the situation will be different as there is an agreement between the cooperatives to sell live lobster for 450 peso a kilo and 650 peso for the tail.
The sale of lobsters, he says, will be national market direct without exporting. He too, says poaching has saturated the market.
“At the local level, buyers are already very rigged and make the product cheaper because there is a lot of competition, mainly unfair competition, which is poachers,” he said.