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Will the Chinese wipe out Antigua and Barbuda’s lobster?

06/06/2012

Over the past month there has been considerable media attention on the subject of certain Chinese businessmen orchestrating a massive monthly purchase and export of spiny lobster.

In a nutshell, these businessmen are providing boats, scuba gear and fishing equipment to fishermen here in Antigua and Barbuda in exchange to the exclusive rights to purchase this lobster from them at an elevated price than the current market price. The cost of the equipment is slowly subtracted from the payments so essentially the whole agreement is a sort of financing agreement. The deal for fishermen is irresistible.

The first big complaint in the media came from the hotel sector which became enraged when they couldn’t get their usual supply of lobster. The Chinese were paying more for lobster and taking any amount supplied, so there was none being offered to the hotels. They were upset.

The second complaint came from one of the oldest lobster wholesalers here who for decades has been the biggest buyer and seller of lobster. He complained that he couldn’t afford to pay as much as the Chinese for the lobster. His supply dried up and he was upset.

The third complaint came from supermarkets and other local sources of consumption who could no longer get lobster to buy. For the first time since it opened Epicurean Supermarket has an empty lobster tank.

Recently I have heard complains against the businesses that are selling to fishermen who are being financed by the Chinese lobster mafia. They feel that it’s wrong for some reason for local business to accept money loaned to fishermen from these Chinese lobster men.
—Read full story at Adventure Antigua

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