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Tulum fishermen say lobster catch down 80 percent

Tulum, Q.R. — Fishermen in Tulum say that cold fronts, sargasso and a series of unusual weather patterns are preventing them from reaching their estimated catch for the season.

Manuel Mendoza Argaez, president of the Cooperativa Pesquera Vigía Chico in the fishing community of Punta Allen, says that the cold fronts, sargasso and a series of meteorological phenomena have already seen the season’s figures 80 percent below their estimated catch numbers of at least 200 tons.

While he didn’t specify exactly how many tons have been caught to date, he did say that they have until the end of February before the season official ends.

“The lobster season runs eight months from July to February, however, the best months for this activity are the first four, that is, from July to October.

“The following months of November until February 28 is when many of us leave the lobster catch since we have our own boats used in ecotourism activities,” he explained.

He says that by October, fishermen had caught only 40 tons of lobster, down from the 60 tons for the same period last year.

Poaching during periods of closure in addition to the bad weather, and especially the presence of sargasso, has affected the young lobsters and caused the season to suffer a collapse in their production in the Bahía de la Ascensión.

Mendoza Argaez says that the lobster catch is the main economic activity of Punta Allen and employs 80 percent of the population, while ecotourism provides 15 percent of its income and is in the second place of importance in terms of income generation after the lobster catch. More than 600 families rely on the seasonal lobster catch for their livelihood.

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