In 2007, the Foundation began a pilot experiment, using 20 “lobster casitas” as a way to increase local populations of Caribbean Spiny Lobsters and promote its sustainable harvest. Lobster casitas are simple artificial concrete structures that attract lobsters and juvenile fish. Local fishermen are encouraged to capture lobster from underneath the casitas thus reducing lobster exploitation on the reef. The fishermen are also educated to respect no-fishing zones and seasons, to respect set size limits and to return lobsters with eggs to the reef.
Since then, over 200 lobster casitas have been deployed in “No Fishing Zones” along the Punta Cana reef. Local fishermen participated in organized exchanges with fishermen from Mexico that have successfully implemented lobster casitas. The Ecological Foundation monitors the casitas to record lobster recruitment, providing data that proves casitas are also an excellent juvenile fish recruitment devise.