State of Losbter Fisheries in Pacific Panama
Most fisheries are over exploited, collapsed or maximally harvested with none underdeveloped (Figure upper right).The green spiny lobster (Panulirus gracilis) found along the Pacific Coast of Panama (Figure lower right) is no exception and has been over exploited for decades. Spiny lobsters in the Gulf of Chiriqui are very low in number. In reference to the Coiba islands which are a marine protected area where commercial fishing is illegal, but where poaching is widely engaged, Smithsonian scientists had this to say (Guzman et al, 2008):"The number of surveyed lobsters in both archipelagos was surprisingly low (85 in Las Perlas and 67 in Coiba), and average densities were dismal (4.1 ± 8.8 ind. ha−1 and 5.3 ± 7.6 ind. ha−1, respectively). Internet source: "Population Assessment of the Pacific Green Spiny Lobster Panulirus gracilis in Pacific Panama".
Although I have been diving for 5 years in various areas of the Chiriqui Bay i have never actually seen a lobster in the wild. But the news is not all bad, although in general fish populations are lower than they used to be, the smaller, less edible and more colorful fishes in Chiriqui are some of the most beautiful in the world and pictures and videos can be found on this site. If you are interested in seeing them you can contact Captain Dave Murphy in Boca Chica to have the time of your life for sure.