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Time to dive into lobster season

Eddie Bardgett, owner of The Lobster Pot Restaurant, is pictured holding local caught guinea chicks in preparation for the start of this yearsþÄô lobster season. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The wait is finally over for seafood lovers — lobster season is under way.

According to restaurant owners and divers, the season could not come quickly enough.

Eddie Bardgett, owner of The Lobster Pot, said he has prepared his restaurant for a business boom.

“I’ve been doing this for 34 years and every time lobster season comes it’s like the start of a new year,” he told The Royal Gazette.

“Everybody is calling and we had three fishermen bring us the local lobster and we have one guy that brings us the guinea chicks.

“This weekend we’re pretty much booked out. Tomorrow night will also be busy because of Harbour Nights and a lot of people will be in town, so they will use that advantage to get their lobster early.

“The locals especially love Bermuda lobster; it’s unfortunate that the tourists can’t get any when they’re here in the summer because they’re out of season.”

Kaitlin Baird, assistant director of science education programmes at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, has been a lobster diver since 2011.

She said: “I’m headed out for my first lobster dive of the season this Saturday, I’m very excited. This will be my fourth season.

“I spend a lot of time in the water with both my students and for fun so I decided to give it a try. Plus, catching dinner is not a bad idea.

“It is a big challenge and a fun adventure to be a part of. I think more ladies are interested in trying out the sport. The hardest part really is finding them and then when you do, it’s getting back down there to catch them. I really like free-diving so this combines a few of my interests.

“It’s not a dainty sport, as these guys are called spiny lobsters for a reason, but I like the challenge of it. I usually go out on the weekends.

“My catch numbers are small — in 2014 my catch for the season was seven, so they went on the barbecue.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment said that the department has issued 329 recreational lobster licences, with more expected in the coming weeks.

The number of licensed lobster divers has steadily increased in the past five seasons with 492 in 2010, 471 in 2011, 524 in 2012, 560 in 2013 and 558 in 2014.

Individuals can apply for a recreational lobster licence throughout the lobster season, ending on March 31, 2016 however, the licence fee is not allocated.

• To obtain a lobster diving or fishing licence contact the Department of Conservation on 236 4201 or visit www.gov.bm for more information.