Reproduce, Replenish, Restock

For 34 years, The Bahamas has enforced an annual closed season for the Caribbean Spiny Lobster – commonly known as crawfish. From April 1st to July 31st, crawfish are given the chance to reproduce and replenish their population, in return allowing Bahamian fishermen to restock on tasty crawfish tails once the season opens.


Crawfish mate throughout the summer months.

Confiscated female crawfish bearing eggs – Bahamas Department of Marine Resources

When mating, the male passes a sperm packet to the female through an opening called the genital pore. The packet attaches to the underside of the female’s carapace and hardens. Once hardened, the packet is referred to as a black ‘tar spot’.

The female then releases bright orange eggs and fertilizes them with the sperm from the ‘tar spot’. When the eggs are fertilized, the female houses them beneath her abdomen. The eggs must remain attached to the female in order to hatch. 

Female crawfish can lay eggs several times in one season. The larger the female the more eggs she can lay.  A female with a 6’ tail can produce 285,000 eggs while a female with a 9’ tail can produce 860,000 eggs every time they spawn. 



Crawfish larvae are especially vulnerable within the first 6-8 months of life. During this time, they are floating as zooplankton in the open ocean and are often eaten by other tiny marine animals. This is also the time when they go through metamorphosis.

Once metamorphosis is complete, the juvenile crawfish begin to look more like adult crawfish. They then settle into nearshore areas such as mangrove creeks and seagrass beds.

Ensuring that crawfish are able to reproduce and that many of their offspring grow to maturity is very important. This is where closed seasons and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) play a crucial role. 

Closed seasons help ensure that during peak reproductive seasons, crawfish have a chance to reproduce. Effective MPAs serve as replenishment zones for crawfish by increasing the number of large adult crawfish. MPAs also improve the chances of mature crawfish finding each other to reproduce.

“Closed seasons and Marine Protected Areas assist in the efforts to preserve our marine ecosystems, ensuring fish for future generations to come.”

 – Allison Longley, Education and Outreach officer, BREEF


It is vital that crawfish get a chance to reproduce and replenish their population. They bring in millions of dollars to the economy every year and help support communities throughout the country.  A healthy population of crawfish is a good thing for The Bahamian economy.

“When we were trapping we used to do good. We caught a lot of crawfish and all of our bills got paid. A healthy population of crawfish is crucial to sustaining the crawfish industry.”

– Jacob Leroy Fox, Bahamian Fisherman for 30 years

Laws and guidelines were established to ensure that The Bahamas maintains a healthy population of crawfish. Some of the regulations pertaining to crawfish include:

  • The minimum harvestable size is 3¼” carapace length or 5½”  tail length.
  • A closed season: April 1st – July 31st
  • A permit is required for all vessels trapping crawfish
  • Crawfish traps must be wooden traps
  • The possession of ‘berried’ (egg-bearing) crawfish is prohibited.
  • The Sportsfishing (non-Bahamian or Bahamian resident) bag limit is 10 crawfish per vessel. 

See a complete list of Fisheries laws and regulations at

Responsible fishermen know and obey fishery regulations, respect closed seasons and respect the rules of Marine Protected Areas. They practice sustainable harvesting techniques and only buy and sell legal seafood.

April 1st marks the start of another closed crawfish season and we encourage everyone to adhere to the fishery regulations. By doing so, you are helping to preserve the next generation of crawfish in The Bahamas. 

Learn more by reading our crawfish guide for Bahamian schools.

For more information on fisheries regulations please visit and download the FishRules app for free on your android or iPhone today!

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BREEF’s “Resilient Blue Bahamas” programme is inspiring young people to get involved with building a more resilient Bahamas. Starting in February 2020, BREEF has delivered a curriculum-based educational model to nearly 500 students from Hugh Campbell Primary School, Bishop Michael Eldon School, Mary Star of the Sea Academy, Lucaya International School and Freeport Gospel Chapel School. The presentation and activities were designed to increase students’ awareness of climate change and the role coral reefs and mangrove wetlands play in safeguarding our islands from storms.  

Hurricane Dorian was a stark reminder of how vulnerable our low-lying islands are in the face of increasingly intense hurricanes. It was also a reminder of the critical role that our nearshore ecosystems of coral reefs and mangroves play in protecting our islands and making our country more resilient. Coral reefs can break wave energy by 97% and the flexible prop roots of the red mangroves absorb wave energy and serve as a buffer between land and sea. 

BREEF’s Education Coordinator stated:  “BREEF recognizes the critical role that young people have in conserving the Bahamian marine environment and developed the “Resilient Blue Bahamas” project to support their recovery and ongoing efforts to restore and protect these ecosystems that protect us. I was impressed with the students’ attentiveness, questions, and positive attitudes.”

When asked to share her thoughts about the project, Freeport Gospel Chapel School teacher and Eco-Schools coordinator Ms. Helen P. Tynes said, “Bahamians are known as a resilient set of people and in light of what our country recently experienced with hurricane Dorian there is an urgent need to educate our children on ways to protect and preserve the earth that we have borrowed from them.”

In addition to learning about several human threats to coral reefs and mangroves, students were able to view video messages of solidarity and empathy from other Eco-Schools students in The Bahamas and around the world supporting the Children for Children Campaign.  The Children for Children Campaign was initiated by BREEF and the Foundation for Environmental Education last November to support the 12 Eco-Schools in Grand Bahama and Abaco that were impacted by hurricane Dorian.  

In order to assist schools with recovering educational materials that were lost in the hurricane,  BREEF gave each school laminated copies of the “Life in the Bahamian Mangrove Creek” educational posters and copies of BREEF’s Educator Toolkit, “Corals, Consumer & Climate Change,” and “Life on the Bahamian Coral Reef”  Educators Guide to the Virtual Coral Reef Field Trip. BREEF will continue to provide additional educational materials to schools impacted by Hurricane Dorian in Grand Bahama and Abaco, including laminated fish, coral, and mangrove identification slates. 

Speaking about the programme, Luke Hopper, Assistant Head Teaching and Learning at Lucaya International School said, “Thank you for further developing and setting the local context in terms of the opportunities and threats facing the vital ecosystems of the Bahamas.” 

According to Cam Chandler, a student at Lucaya International School, “It was an enjoyable and educational presentation. It was really nice to learn about something we had studied in depth, with more local and specific details. We also enjoyed the personalized setting.”

The Resilient Blue Bahamas Project is made possible through the generous assistance of the Moore Bahamas Foundation, the Lyford Cay Foundation and the many donors who continue to support BREEF’s hurricane recovery efforts. 

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BREEF Shares Online Learning Resources to Support Students

BREEF- Online Resources

While schools are closed and everyone is embarking on social distancing, the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation  (BREEF) has put together a selection of educational resources that can keep kids engaged and learning about the waters around us. Utilizing its digital platform, BREEF is sharing these fundamental school programmes to help students, teachers, and parents as they adjust to learning from home. 

While schools are closed and everyone is embarking on social distancing, the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation  (BREEF) has put together a selection of educational resources that can keep kids engaged and learning about the waters around us. Utilizing its digital platform, BREEF is sharing these fundamental school programmes to help students, teachers, and parents as they adjust to learning from home. 

The Virtual Coral Reef Field Trip (VCRFT) is a multimedia kit developed by BREEF to teach Bahamian students about the coral reefs that can be found around every Bahamian island.  This virtual field trip covers the content that students need to learn for BGCSEs and BJCs. BREEF produced the film and Educators Guide in response to Bahamian teachers requesting educational resources that would assist them with overcoming the challenges they faced, teaching about life beneath the waters. Taking students out to observe a real coral reef requires students to know how to swim, or at least be comfortable in the water. This is something not very many Bahamian students know how to do yet. 

“The virtual coral reef film is awesome! It kept the kids engaged and effectively delivers the message. This is a fun and exciting way to help kids learn about the ocean around them.” – Cheng Bee Selim, Bishop Michael Eldon School, Grand Bahama. 

“I like that movie. I felt like I was in the water with the fish.” – Kamryn Morris, age 6, Gambier Primary School

“BREEF has created handy virtual tours of our marine environment that we can all learn from and enjoy…So please, as we sit out our 24-hour curfew these next few days and weeks, do capitalize on this opportunity  to explore our Bahamian underwater ecosystems from the comfort of our homes.” – Sonia Neely, South Andros High School

“Thank you so much for sharing your online resources. We really enjoyed watching them. We are meeting with the Eco Club today to see what we can do with the students online at this time… these are certainly great options.” – Viviane Proffitt, Lyford Cay International School.

The VCRFT has also been used by schools that have either been impacted by hurricanes or are unable to participate in the two-month hands-on field studies block that BREEF hosts every spring and fall. The VCRFT toolkit consists of a 25-min short film, a “Life on the Bahamian Coral Reef” poster and a teacher’s guide with Interactive extras and student worksheets.

“The Virtual Coral Reef Field Trip is a fantastic resource to introduce young people to the beautiful Bahamian coral reefs- without leaving their houses. It’s a great introduction to life beneath the waves and is designed to inspire curiosity and an interest in learning more about coral reefs that provide us with so many benefits.” – Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, Executive Director, BREEF.

The Virtual Coral Reef Field Trip was created by BREEF with a grant from the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation. Additional support from the Lyford Cay Foundation, Moore Bahamas Foundation, and individual BREEF donors has enabled BREEF to use this resource to reach even more students around the Bahamian archipelago

“During these challenging times students, teachers and parents throughout The Bahamas are invited to utilize BREEF’s free curriculum-based online resources which are updated frequently with new and engaging programmes”

– Kevin Glinton, Education Coordinator, BREEF

Take a Virtual Coral Reef Field Trip today!


Featured in Bahamas Weekly! Read more

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Young’s Fine Wine Pairs with BREEF’s Coral Restoration Efforts

Coral reefs are under threat around the world and Young’s Fine Wine, has partnered with BREEF to protect them in The Bahamas. Part proceeds of every bottle of Murphy Goode and Gulfstream wine sold at Young’s support BREEF’s coral conservation efforts. William Young presented BREEF Executive Director Casuarina McKinney with a cheque for $13,275 for coral conservation and restoration. 

Jackson Family Wines, the producers of Murphy Goode Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc have a long commitment to sustainability throughout the wine production process. Young’s Fine Wine, the local distributors, are matching and raising the support locally and showcasing their commitment to protecting the nature that surrounds the islands and makes The Bahamas so special.

“When Jackson Family Wines approached us and inquired about a way to contribute to a sustainability project in The Bahamas, we immediately thought of BREEF” says William Young, President of Young’s Fine Wine. “We have always been inspired by the work BREEF does and are thrilled to have formed a beneficial partnership combining two things we are really passionate about: great wine and supporting the environment.”

BREEF Executive Director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert speaks of the collaboration: “Special thanks to Young’s Fine Wine, Jacksons Family Wines, and all the customers who are purchasing bottles of Murphy Goode and Gulfstream, knowing that every bottle supports BREEF’s coral conservation work. Please do continue to enjoy, knowing that your glass is helping our ocean! Our coral reefs protect us from hurricanes, but they are also vulnerable to the impacts of wave energy toppling coral heads over, sedimentation, and damage from debris and pollution washed into the ocean from land. Coral reefs protect us, but they need all the help they can get.” 

Coral reefs are particularly important in The Bahamas for the role that they play in protecting our islands from hurricanes; they are able to break wave energy by 90% and in this way protect the shorelines behind them. In addition, they have huge value as hubs for biodiversity, fisheries, and tourism.  

BREEF is growing endangered Staghorn coral at coral nurseries in New Providence and with Kamalame Cay at the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Andros. Once the corals are large enough, the restoration team out-plants these corals to restore adjacent reefs. BREEF is part of the Reef Rescue Network that works to restore coral reefs in the Bahamas and neighbouring countries.

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Coral Out-planting Season in Full Swing!

Coral out-planting season is in full swing and we are happy to report our Staghorn coral babies have grown up so beautifully and bountiful!

BREEF has two coral propagation units (CPU) located at the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden , and here you will find hundreds of our out-plants. The goal of coral propagation efforts is to restore the health of the adjacent reef by increasing the population recovery and eventually contribute to sexual reproduction, site propagation and the recruitment of new corals.

Find out how you can help save our coral reefs. Contact us!

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Young Bahamians around the country are voicing support for the Plastic Ban and highlighting creative solutions that the public can use to support the initiative to decrease marine pollution and improve human health.  Students in The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation’s (BREEF) network of 33 Eco-Schools throughout The Bahamas are excited to be part of the change and have thrown their full support behind the Plastic Ban.

“Young children are leading the way to a more sustainable future.” stated BREEF Executive Director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert. “It is the next generation who will especially feel the benefit of these forward-thinking policies, and children in Bahamian Eco-Schools have already been inspiring others around the country to get on board with creating a healthier environment for all.”

In Grand Bahama Bishop Michael Eldon School’s (BMES) Maleah Wilchcombe, head of the Eco-club’s Energy Department says, “Our School has implemented the use of cardboard lunch containers instead of styrofoam containers, because we saw this practice as Eco-friendly.  Even before the implementation of the Plastic Ban our school began selling plastic straws and forks for 25 cents to encourage students to bring metal forks from home. We’re planning to sell and distribute customized reusable bags and have placed information on our Eco-School bulletin board about the 2020 Plastic Ban.   An “On- the-Spot” reusable bag design making competition and a recycled materials themed Project Runway fashion show are also in the making.”

Eco-club students at  C. I. Gibson Senior High School are all united in this initiative and said, “We the members of the C.I. Gibson Eco-Schools Programme totally support the ban on plastic items  by the Bahamian government as a necessity to save our marine resources.” 

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Young Reporters for the Environment: BREEF’s New Educational Programme Empowers Bahamian Youth

The Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) programme aims to empower young students aged 11-25 to take a stand on environmental issues they feel strongly about and give them a platform to call attention to these issues through the media of writing, photography or video. There are more than 350,000 young reporters in 45 countries across the world.

On Saturday, February 8th, YRE students from Eco-schools in New Providence and Eleuthera participated in a 2-hour YRE workshop hosted by BREEF. Presenters at the workshop included professional photographer and social media influencer Shane Gross and environmental media reporter Crystal Darling from ZNS.

YRE is an amazing programme because it allows young people to utilize social media in an impactful way, expressing their concerns about the environment and proposing solutions. YRE teaches our youth how to communicate effectively by utilizing a cutting-edge approach to disseminate news.”

-Allison Longley, National Operator for the Young Reporters for the Environment.

YRE participants were asked what motivates you to protect nature.

Kaitlyn Archer, age 17, responded “What motivates my group members and I to protect nature is the sustainability of our surrounding for future generations. Nature is often neglected by human beings in today’s world and now it’s survival is becoming such a vital aspect of life; we have to protect it.”

Georgia Birkweiser, age 14, exclaimed “If we don’t take care of the environment, our future will be bleak or non-existent.

Caden Smith, age 16, replies “I have a passion and strong love for nature and the environment. I enjoy caring for the nature that surrounds us. I enjoy engaging myself in any activities that benefit nature.”

YRE participants will compete in a national competition on Earth Day (April 22, 2020). The winner of the competition will receive country-wide recognition and will be eligible to enter the 2021 Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE) international competition. The launch of this programme is being made possible with the help of a Strategic Grant from the Global Environment Facility.

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Nassau Grouper Closed Season starts December 1st

December 1st – February 28th marks the Nassau Grouper Closed Season.

This means that it’s illegal to land, purchase or sell Nassau Grouper during this 3 month winter period.

Let’s give them some time and privacy to make more Nassau Groupers.

In the meantime, try out other tasty options like Lionfish.

If you support the closed season, B.R.E.E.F. encourages you to make our image your social mediaprofile picture and share it with your friends.

Learn More About Nassau Grouper And Why They Are So Important

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