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The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) is becoming increasingly concerned about the illegal and indiscriminate harvesting of Sea Urchins (chadon), particularly in Vieux Fort.

A statement issued by the Trust notes that evidence of this came to light after a routine visit to Maria Islands by staff on Saturday October 25th when remnants of sea urchin shells, including young ones which were useless to the poachers, were scattered on the islet’s shores.

What is even more disturbing, the statement adds, is that poachers have become more aggressive in their activities and do not care to target the more mature animals.  

The organization says it has received reports of the illegal act, more so leading up to creole day celebrations.

The Department of Fisheries (DOF) has advised that the Sea Urchin fishery is closed and that anyone caught either harvesting or having the sea urchins in their possession is liable to penalties under Fisheries Act Cap.7.15 of the Laws of Saint Lucia. The decision to keep the Sea Urchin season closed this year was made after a survey revealed that the current sea urchin population had not recovered sufficiently.

In addition, the public should also be aware that the waters surrounding Maria Islands is a declared marine reserve  or a  ‘no take zone’ meaning it would be illegal to fish, harvest or remove any marine flora or fauna from these waters.

Anyone operating outside these parameters would be contravening the laws of Saint Lucia and would be liable to penalties.
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