Ascension : Conservation Weekly
Submitted by The Islander (Conservation Office) 15.03.2012 (Article Archived on 29.03.2012)
Many people get confused between the two as they are both crustaceans but only ‘true’ lobsters live in marine environments, where as crayfish live in freshwater.
Promoting Marine Awareness on St Helena
Information used from St Helena Independent by Marine Section.
Lobster or Crayfish?
What is the difference between a lobster and a crayfish?
Many people get confused between the two as they are both crustaceans but only ‘true’ lobsters live in marine environments, where as crayfish live in freshwater. The older traditional names for spiny lobster are “crayfish” or “cray” which is where the confusion with freshwater crayfish comes from. There are two species of lobster that can be found around St Helena’s inshore waters; the Brown Spiny Lobster or “Longlegs” and Red Locust Lobster or “Stump”.
Red Locust Lobster or “Stump”
Stump (Scyllarides herklotsii) are a species of slipper lobster that are also found along the west coast of Africa from Northern Senegal to Southern Angola. They are nocturnal and inhabit sandy and rocky areas, shelteringduring the day and foraging at night. Male stump grow to about 12.5cm carapace length whilst females grow larger and reach about 13.5cm carapace length. Traditionally fishing for stump has been confined almost entirely to the leeward side of the island and has been seasonal with most catches being made from November to March.
Brown Spiny Lobster or “Longlegs”
The Longlegs (Panulirus echinatus) are also found on Ascension, the Cape Verde Islands, Ilha da Trindade, and off north-east Brazil and its offshore islands. They are primarily associated with the underwater cliff face and boulder slopes around the island favouring caves and crevices to hide in. Female longlegs grow to about 12cm carapace length whilst males may grow considerably larger, reaching about 17.5cm carapace length. Unlike Stump the Longlegs appear to breed twice a year and females on occasion can even incubate three broods in a year.
Lobsters and the Law
Under the Endangered, Endemic and Indigenous Species Protection Ordinance 1996 it is illegal to take, damage or kill any Spiny Lobster (Panulirus echinatus) or “Longlegs” when they are in berry (have eggs).
Local fishing licences support this law by additionally stating it is forbidden to take ANY lobster in berry. St Helena is a relatively small island and as a result there is limited suitable habitat for lobsters to live in. This resource cannot withstand heavy fishing pressure and because there are currently no minimum size limits or catch quotas to abide by it is the responsibility of all users of the marine environment to act responsibly so that it can be enjoyed for years to come.
If you are offered any lobsters for sale that are in berry we need to hear from you! Without people telling us that this is going on we are powerless to do anything about it, so please get in touch.
Green Turtle on beach heading back to sea
The Conservation Department would like to thank the Midwest Rake Company (https://www.midwestrake.com) for providing 8 rakes at cost price for use in our turtle monitoring work. The rakes will be used for removing turtle tracks from the beach to enable us to count the number of turtles that come on to the beach each night. It is great to have such a high level of support for our conservation projects from an organisation outside of Ascension
Turtle tours can now be booked either at the Conservation Office on telephone number 6359, or via the Obsidian Hotel on 6246. You may also email us on the below email addresses:
Please be advised that due to on-going field work the Conservation Office will open from 7.30am -10am during week days. We open as normal on Saturdays, 10am-12noon, signs will be posted on the door when the office is closed.
Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
Volunteers welcome. Please contact Natasha Williams or Jolene Sim. Ascension Island Conservation Department. Georgetown. Tel: 6359. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com