Río San Juan Authorities Arrest Three and Confiscate Parrotfish and Speckled Lobster Shipment
On Thursday, the Ministry of the Environment announced that three unidentified individuals were arrested for violating Dominican environmental laws during a seizure operation in the Río San Juan municipality of the María Trinidad Sánchez province. The operation resulted in the confiscation of 1,585 pounds of parrotfish and 65.67 pounds of speckled lobster. The suspects have been transferred to Santo Domingo to face charges for violating Laws 64-00 on the Environment, Law 307 creating the Dominican Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Codopesca), and decrees 418-21 and 119-12, which establish the closure of lobster fishing.
According to Pedro Antonio Montero, in charge of Control and Surveillance of the Vice Ministry of Coastal and Marine Resources, the confiscated shipment will serve as food for species in captivity at the Live Species Center of the National Aquarium. The parrotfish ban will end next July, while the lobster ban is in effect from March 1 to June 30 every year.
The Ministry of the Environment aims to achieve zero consumption of critical species, such as parrotfish and speckled lobster, through awareness campaigns like “I don’t eat parrotfish” The 95 species covered by regulations, including Scaridae, soap, butú, and parrot, are essential to maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems and the preservation of beaches. In addition to parrotfish and speckled lobster, the other regulated species include Acunthuridae, Pomacanthidae, Chaetondontidae, and Holothuroidea.
The Vice Minister of Coastal and Marine Affairs, José Ramón Reyes, explained that coral reefs, which are highly susceptible to overfishing, are among the world’s most biodiverse tropical ecosystems. Parrotfish and doctors play a crucial role in the preservation of this marine community, which contributes to the white sand found on the Dominican Republic’s beaches. Consequently, the capture, commercialization, and consumption of these species are prohibited.