Categorized | National News

CRFM Addresses Threats To Fisheries

While The Bahamas and the region face many threats to its fisheries resources, steps are being taken through the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) to effectively address these threats and find possible solutions.

Fisheries ministers of the 17 members states of the CRFM convened here in the capital on Friday for their one-day annual meeting, held at the SuperClubs Breezes Hotel.

The Bahamas has a significant commercial, recreational and sustenance fishing industry that provides high income, employment, nutrition and foreign exchange for the country and Bahamians alike.

For instance spiny lobster exports alone, generate $75 million dollars annually for the country.

In fact, according to Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray, fisheries contribute about two per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employ about 12,000 Bahamians.

He said while the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that 70 per cent of the world’s fisheries resources are in decline or over exploited due to fishing, The Bahamas still enjoys a relatively healthy and rich fishery resource.

But several factors including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, limited access to export markets, invasive species and environmental changes threaten fisheries.

“If our several countries are to continue to benefit from the resources of the sea, we have an imperative,” Minister Gray said while addressing the CRFM.

“Each country must do all in its power as a country and we collectively must do all that we are able to, to protect our resources for the many livelihoods which depend on them, now and for the foreseeable future.”

He reminded delegates that the dependence on fisheries was the genesis of the council, in order to protect from threats what member states perceive as very important.

Minister Gray will be assuming the rotating chairmanship of the council for 2012/2013, taking over from Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and the Environment Hilson Baptiste.

The ministers spent the day reviewing the CRFM’s activities over the past year, determining policies, directions and programmes for sustainable development, management and conservation of fisheries resources in the region and providing guidance on the way forward to the Caribbean fisheries forum and CRFM secretariat.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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